Google has recently been accused by Microsoft of circumventing their privacy settings and tracking users of Internet Explorer.
The whole controversy first started when a Stanford University graduate student, Jonathan Mayer, said that Google was bypassing the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser and tracking users on iPhones and Macs.
Soon thereafter, Microsoft followed with similar allegations.
Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president for Internet Explorer at Microsoft, has said that “Google is employing similar methods to get around the default privacy protections in IE and track IE users with cookies.”
According to him, Microsoft has already contacted Google and asked them to stop tracking users of IE and other browsers, in writing.
He has also advised users to use The Internet Explorer 9, in order to protect their privacy.
He says, “By default, IE blocks third-party cookies unless the site presents a P3P Compact Policy Statement indicating how the site will use the cookie and that the site’s use does not include tracking the user. Google’s P3P policy causes Internet Explorer to accept Google’s cookies even though the policy does not state Google’s intent.”
Google has of course, countered the allegations by saying that the P3P policy used by Microsoft is outdated since it was started in 2002, and therefore is not practical to follow. They have also cited a report of 2010, which shows that over 11,000 web sites were not issuing valid P3P policies.