Yesterday, I posted here how you can better protect yourselves against Google by making sure your iPhone’s settings are set to maximum security. My post, which I titled “How to block Google from tracking you on your iPhone“, gave you steps for you to follow. In addition, I provided you a link to the Business Insider website that has the full 10 steps. Here is a link to the post I’m referring to – click here
Let’s take a closer look at step number 7, which advised you to do the following:
“This screen will pop up. Hit ‘Never.’ That means your browser will never accept any cookies. (Google’s trick took advantage of the “From visited” setting. That setting means you only want cookies from sites you visit. But Google and other ad networks found a way to deliver their cookies anyway.) Then hit ‘Safari’ to go back to the last screen.”
This is a critical step because, as already pointed out to you, Google was able to circumvent Apple’s security setting through a loophole in the “From visited” setting. What Google figured was that Apple designed their browser to only accept cookies from the actual page users are on if the browser thought users trusted the site enough to file out a form. Google then deliberately manipulated the browser to accept Google’s tracking cookies by changing a code to trick the browser into thinking that the user was filling out a form when in actuality they were not. For an illustration on how this works, you can click here
Alright, if you thought that was bad enough – wait, it gets worse! Let me tell you just how disgusting and low Google was willing to go. Google not only targeted innocent unsuspecting users of Apple’s web browser, who thought that they were not being tracked, but Google also intentionally lied and deceived them too!
Google didn’t just secretly go and change the security setting of Apple users’ browser – they also gave false advice to innocent people to follow, so that Google could carry out its tracking and manipulate the browser.
How did Google deceivingly set people up to be later victimized? Okay, here are the sordid details explaining what exactly Google did:
Google knew about the loophole in Apple’s Safari security setting as early as 2010, as reported by Tech website Gizmodo.
Google has something called an “advertising cookie opt-out plugin”, which was supposedly developed by Google to give people a way to block third-party cookies (hmm, whatever!). So anyway, this plugin was developed for users of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google’s own browser named Chrome.
Conspicuously missing from this list was Apple’s web browser, Safari, which Google decided not to include. Google claimed that they couldn’t yet create a similar plugin that could function on Safari – but they reassured Apple’s users that their browser already has a built-in default setting which effectively blocks tracking anyway.
Then, Google told Apple users to double-check if they are truly protected from tracking cookies by checking their settings. Google gave them a 3 step instruction to “confirm that Safari is set up to block third-party cookies“.
This is what Google told Apple users in step 3:
“Make sure the ‘Accept cookies’ setting is set to ‘Only from sites you navigate to’. You can also set this option to ‘Never’, but this will prevent many web sites that rely on cookies from working.”
Wow! The level of deception is absolutely abhorrent! Now that we know what Google did to Apple users, this last step Google provided to innocent people makes more sense in hindsight. Google deliberately gave unsuspecting and trusting Apple users the wrong advice to make them more vulnerable to spyware and tracking!
What Google did is morally and ethically corrupt – it should also be illegal!
By the way, that “advertising cookie opt-out plugin” page has now been edited by Google to hide the evidence. Some time between February 14th and 15th, Google found out that the Wall Street Journal was in the process of writing a story about the tracking of Apple users – Google then immediately edited that page so that the instructions for Apple Safari users is no longer there.
But they couldn’t hide it fast enough because a non-profit consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog took screenshots of the page before it had been edited and after it was edited by Google.
This is a screenshot before Google edited the page: click here
This is the screenshot of that same page after Google edited it: click here
The advocacy group has written a letter to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) detailing what they found. The group is calling on the FTC to take actions to punish Google for clearly violating the consent order the company agreed to last year.
According to Walter Isaacson’s bestselling authorized biography on the late CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs was a fierce defender of the iPhone. Steve Jobs was “willing to go thermonuclear war” against Google to defend his products and users. Sadly, Mr. Jobs passed away last year from cancer – but this doesn’t mean Apple users are not fighting back against Google. One man has already filed a lawsuit against Google (click here)
For more information on all of this, please click here