Google sidesteps Safari’s no tracking settings
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, 8/8/2012 in category "News "
Abstract: Google sidesteps Safari’s no tracking settings
The idea of Government is to have an entity that could offer security to an individual’s life, property, liberty, etc. but when it comes to confutable privacy concerns on the web, the Government defenders have been somewhat slow or discrete in terms of doing their job while bloggers, grad students and independent developers have been able to hit bull’s eye more than once in exposing such activities. The case in point is how a grad student was able to figure out before FTC how Google was bypassing the no-tracking settings by safari users, but before we delve into that lets just consider a few other instances where private individuals have helped in giving a course to public opinion and discussions regarding privacy problems.
Individuals outrun the government
Trevor Eckhart was the developer to have reported how Carrier IQ, a mobile software company, was using keystroke logger last year. Nik Cubrilovic is the Australian programmer who alleged Facebook of tracking users through the like button, even the ones who log out. Arun Thampi is another developer who reported how mobile social networking app Path was uploading users’ data without their consent and Ashkan Soltani was responsible for co-presenting a report disclosing how Kissmetrics, an analytics company, was using eTag for tracking people who deleted their cookies. In these examples, companies were made to change their practices after being highlighted by researchers and other individuals, landing them in the middle of judicial proceedings concerning privacy issues. An argument can be made here that government personnel might have had the knowledge about these practices when they were revealed but it was still individuals who took up the issues and corrected the wrongs.
FTC lags behind
In a similar vein, a ProPublica report details the way Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford graduate level student, discovered that Google was sidestepping Safari users’ no tracking settings before the Federal Trade Commission. FTC has obviously raised concerns regarding a few aspects of the report, like Mayer outsmarted the commission, etc. Cecelia Prewett, the Spokesperson for FTC, wrote to ProPublica mentioning that FTC issues are not made public right from the start, so no one can claim to know when exactly did FTC discover about the matter and they mostly learn about such matters before everyone else but it remains non-public.
According to Google, they developed a way to circumvent no-tracking settings to allow users to express their likeness of ads through the +1 button and not for tracking purposes but the fact of the matter is that they continued to do so until Mayer’s report was going to be published. FTC might very well have known about Google’s activities before Mayer but until he revealed the issue Google continued to avert user settings, due to the delay from the government. It can only be hoped that government will pick up pace in taking actions against such problems relating to privacy in the future and Giants like Google will also be more careful in chalking out their action plans.
Author Bio: Natalia David, an author significantly contributes towards PC security Software, cell phone monitoring and free keylogger. If you want to know more about Natalia you can follow her on twitter @NataliaDavid4