Google vs. i-Privacy

Erik Bernstein crisis management Leave a Comment

Google caught tracking UK users after being busted in the States

If you use any one of the massively popular i-products, we’d just about bet our hats that you’re accessing Google through Apple’s Safari browser on a regular basis. Whether looking up sports facts, driving directions or the best place to have that hot date, Google has become a virtual concierge right at your fingertips.

Of course, just as with a real concierge, Google gets many requests that users would rather keep very much private.

You can imagine, then, why UK iPhone, iPad and Apple desktop users were upset to discover that Google had intentionally sidestepped security settings within Safari in order to monitor their behavior against their wishes.

Google, which generates the vast majority of its revenue from selling advertising space, allegedly used the information to display targeted ads based on recent searches.

A Facebook group called “Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking” has already been formed with the purpose of sharing information about the issue, as well as holding Google accountable for its actions. In a statement, the group said:

“Google deliberately undermined protections on the Safari browser so that they could track users’ internet usage and to provide personally tailored advertising based on the sites previously visited. There was no way to know that Google did this. In fact, they made it clear that they did not do this on the Safari browser.

It could mean for many users that surprises such as engagements, presents and holidays were destroyed when partners looked at their computers and saw display ads based on sites previously visited. There are many examples of the inappropriate consequences of such intrusion.”

This isn’t even the first time Google’s been caught snooping where it shouldn’t have been. Just last year the search behemoth was fined $22.5 million by the FTC for doing the exact same thing here in the States.

Google’s massive dominance of online search means this incident is clearly not going to topple the company. However, considering the fact that this is Google’s third or fourth go-around in the privacy battle department, we would definitely say it’s playing with fire.

Net users (read: pretty much all of us) hold their privacy very near and dear to their hearts. Continue down this path, Google, and you’ll make it that much easier when whoever’s next in line for the throne comes to usurp you.

The BCM Blogging Team

Leave a Reply