OS X Yosemite Safari Privacy

Things could get ugly for Google as the Internet giant lost a UK appeal in the Safari cookie tracking case, potentially opening the door to litigation from the millions of British users, BBC News reported Friday.

The case revolves around Google’s practice to continue tracking users of Apple’s Safari browser via cookies even after they had changed their browser settings to block cookies, in order to target them with advertising.

“The landmark case,” as BBC called it, means that people in the United Kingdom who used Apple’s desktop and mobile between the summer of 2011 and spring of 2012 could sue Google over privacy breach.

Dan Tench, a partner at law firm Olswang who is acting for the claimants, said that Google, “a company that makes billions from advertising knowledge, claims that it was unaware that was secretly tracking Apple users for a period of nine months and had argued that no harm was done because the matter was trivial as consumers had not lost out financially.”

The Court of Appeal in its ruling said the case relates “to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused”.

“The Court of Appeal has ensured Google cannot use its vast resources to evade English justice,” said Judith Vidal-Hall, one of three claimants.

“Ordinary computer users like me will now have the right to hold this giant to account before the courts for its unacceptable, immoral and unjust actions.”

Google said it was “disappointed with the court’s decision”.

Exploiting a Safari workaround has allowed the Internet giant to continue amassing knowledge on users’ web surfing habits, social class, race, ethnicity, without their consent.

Source: BBC News

  • Pokeh321

    This seems like more of a fault with Safari. If I am reading right safari wasn’t clearing the cookies or rejecting them properly. It’s not like Google can stop Safari from getting them or using them if Safari was bugged.

    Just my opinion from the knowledge on the subject from the article.

    • Manuel Molina

      It is the fault of the safari browser based on how it’s built. The issue came from Apple giving you the option to block cookies. The user has cookies blocked, but Google uses a exploit to go behind that block and against the users choice not to be followed and tracked. Thus the practice of being followed, tracked and watched to target them with ads makes it very unethical and a privacy issue.

      • Kr00

        Bullshit. Safari by default blocks cookies from unknown websites. Google used iframe ads to circumvent the blocking actions of safari, a very deliberate act.

      • Manuel Molina

        I think you might have read my comment wrong. Re-read it.

        Safari’s fault lies in the fact that it was built where cookies were not blocked from unknown websites. Later down the road, it revamped the browser and blocked unknown sites.

        Neither me nor are others saying Google did not deliberately do things to track people. Try not to take so much offense to this. You seem tense. There’s beers for that, friend. 🙂

      • Kr00

        I’m sorry to say, but you’re wrong, which is why I called bullshit. Safari has been blocking cookies from untrusted websites well before this happened, which is why google resorted to the iframe ad workaround to track a users cookies. If what you say was even remotely true, why would google need to do this in the first place, if Safari wasn’t blocking them?

        Never tense, just have no time for misinformation and I don’t suffer fools gladly. Next time check your facts.

      • Manuel Molina

        Safari didn’t always block cookies. It was a recent change with iOS 7. What you pulled is true, but again, what you’re saying isn’t me saying its wrong. It’s me saying that it was Apple’s browser that allowed the cookies to be used before they began to block them. Google used the exploit and did what they did.

        Also, if you have no time for misinformation, why would you waste your time looking for quotes to disprove what I’m saying? Sounds like you have a lot of time and defensive issues if you need to push that much time and information out on someone.

      • Kr00

        Well I’ve provided proof that safari blocks cookies at the time of this hacking. How about you back up your statement with something more than “your word”. When did safari allow all unknown cookies? When did they stop blocking unknown cookies? The point is, at the time of this hack by Google, Safari WAS blocking cookies. That’s what this article is about, not about historic time frames in the life of safari.

        You claim something, then when I point out the facts at the time, that safari was blocking cookies, with evidence, you claim otherwise. If you honestly think you are right, then it would be easy to prove. I’m sorry you’re upset that I actually backed my comments up with facts, but when the facts are there, anything else is a lie. So we should just let misinformation to flourish unchallenged?

        I look forward to something to back up your claims. That’s what true debate is about, is it not?

      • Kr00

        And if you need some fact, not just my word, here is a quote from the report by the WSJ,

        “By default, Apple’s Safari browser accepts cookies only from sites that a user visits; these cookies can help the site retain logins or other information. Safari generally blocks cookies that come from elsewhere – such as advertising networks or other trackers. But there are exceptions to this rule, including that if you interact with an advertisement or form in certain ways, it’s allowed to set a cookie even if you aren’t technically visiting the site.

        Google’s code, which was placed on certain ads that used the company’s DoubleClick ad technology and was uncovered by Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer, took advantage of this loophole, as did the code used by the other companies.

        In Google’s case, the code was part of a Google feature that allows its “+1” button to be embedded in advertisements. Wall Street Journal technologist Ashkan Soltani analyzed the code further and found that 22 of the top 100 most popular websites installed the Google code on a test computer.”

    • Kr00

      No. Google deliberately circumvented Apples cookies blocking via iframe ad placement, and then used that data to track the cookies of websites the user visited thereafter. It was no accident, as iframe ads are ment to be one way data delivery. Google tricked Safari into believing the iframe ads were certified cookies from sites the user visited. I’m sure if Apple did this you’d be up in arms, right?

      • Pokeh321

        No need to get angry. I was just going by the info in the article since I hadn’t heard of it from anywhere else.

      • Kr00

        If you were aware of the facts, you need not be keep corrected on your misinformation. It was widely reported on 3 years ago.

      • Pokeh321

        Sorry I hadn’t seen the story before now. No need to get uptight about it.

      • Kr00

        Not uptight mate, just don’t suffer fools, or misinformation gladly. Keep up next time before posting.

      • Pokeh321

        How am I being a fool if the information in the article was incomplete with vital details. I’m not going to go google something before commenting on here for what I believed to be the accurate information.

      • Kr00

        Then don’t believe everything you read in a headline. Better yet, don’t comment until you find out why google were being sued in the first instance. Thats what any fair minded person would do. So commenting without the facts was a bit foolish.

      • Pokeh321

        You’re being a stuck up ass. I gathered facts from the article of which we are commenting on. Just because I didn’t go do a whole book report on it doesn’t mean you have to be a self centered brat.

      • Kr00

        Except you were wrong, now who’s being an ass? Get over it. Check your facts next time or you end up looking like a fool. Cheers.

  • Rock lobsta

    Who the hell even cares? This is ridiculous, as Google said it caused no harm… Oh but I don’t feel safe anymore boohoo… So lame… You guys are sounding like America, sue sue sue.

    • That_Fruitarian

      Wow!!

    • NEBS RY

      The NSA pays Google for a lot more, so that’s already been swept under the rug.

    • Manuel Molina

      If you feel that you need to validate your opinions by putting down a whole country with assumptions, than I wish you well in life. it speaks volumes on your self as a person.

    • Digitalfeind

      That is because you are an idiot.

    • Kr00

      You clearly have no understanding of the privacy laws in differing countries. Moron.

    • Rowan09

      If Google is making billions without my consent at least send me a check. It’s ethically wrong but hey it’s business and when they are caught they deserve to get sued.

  • @dongiuj

    Maybe it’s not about money.