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EFF accuses Google of Safari hunt

Says search firm must change
Fri Feb 17 2012, 09:42

ONLINE FREEDOM FIGHTER the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has criticised Google over privacy and accused it of snooping on Safari users.

The group is reacting to a report at the Wall Street Journal that says Google is circumventing privacy settings of the Apple web browser and building up profiles on users.

The report came out earlier today and Google has disabled the feature already, however, the EFF said that it is an important reminder about the need for Do Not Track rules and guarantees of personal privacy.

"Coming on the heels of Google's controversial decision to tear down the privacy-protective walls between some of its other services, this is bad news for the company. It's time for Google to acknowledge that it can do a better job of respecting the privacy of Web users," the EFF said in a statement.

"One way that Google can prove itself as a good actor in the online privacy debate is by providing meaningful ways for users to limit what data Google collects about them. Specifically, it's time that Google's third-party web servers start respecting Do Not Track requests, and time for Google to offer a built-in Do Not Track option."

Google has disabled the feature, and said that the cookies were not used to gather personal information, but the EFF is sceptical. "Safari gives users an opportunity to block passive tracking by online advertisers. Google's decision to route around those settings took it down a dangerous road," it said.

"Any code that was specifically designed to circumvent privacy protection features should have triggered a much higher level of review and caution, and that clearly did not happen." µ


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