Piling on similarly inflammatory accusations on Apple’s behalf, Microsoft claims that Google has been ignoring a privacy safeguard in its Internet Explorer 9 browser, which is meant to help users prevent advertisers from placing tracking files on their computers.
"When the IE team heard that Google had bypassed user privacy settings on Safari, we asked ourselves a simple question: Is Google circumventing the privacy preferences of Internet Explorer users too?" Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's vice president of Internet Explorer, wrote in a blog post. "We’ve discovered the answer is yes."
In other words, “Microsoft left a big privacy loophole in its Internet Explorer browser and is now going after Google for driving a truck through it,” writes the Los Angeles Times.
“Under the guise of transparency, Google is actually bypassing a privacy setting put in place by a major competitor,” scolds Business Insider. “Sneaky!”
Yet, “Google's senior vice president of communications and policy, Rachel Whetstone, countered in an emailed statement that Microsoft's policy is ‘widely non-operational,’” reports Computerworld. “Newer cookie-based features are broken by the Microsoft implementation in IE, Google said.”
Google’s “response also points to other offenders, citing a 2010 Carnegie Mellon research paper,” writes The Verge. “Google's also specifically bringing Facebook and Amazon into the fracas, citing their similar use of the P3P bypass.”
“Many companies are taking advantage of Internet Explorer’s poor cookie blocking implementation for their own purposes,” according to ZDNet. “Their excuse is that [Privacy Preferences Project -- a protocol allowing websites to declare their intended use of information they collect about browsing users] is dead and IE’s cookie blocking would break their Web site, so they just work around the browser’s privacy controls.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft has recently taken any opportunity to bash rival Google, as CNet notes. “Microsoft slammed Google earlier this week after The Wall Street Journal reported that Google had sidestepped Safari user privacy settings to track Internet users,” it writes.