Accusing Google of intentionally “tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked,” the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Internet juggernaut has been using special computer code on the Apple iPhone that “tricks Apple's Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users.”
Apple says it’s working to stop the circumvention of privacy setting by iPhone users, the Journal reports.
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Google in August 2011 agreed to pay a $500 million fine over AdWords sales that allowed U.S. residents to access ads for online Canadian pharmacies, according to the Department of Justice
Separately, Google in October 2011 pledged not to "misrepresent" its privacy practices to consumers in a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, resolving charges that the company used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promises to consumers when it launched its social network, Google Buzz, in 2010. The settlement
barred Google from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years. Another privacy violation could result in major civil penalties and—if Google is shown to have intentionally circumvented privacy settings of consumers—it's conceivable that criminal charges against the company or its executives could be filed by the government.
Google issued a statement saying the Journal is mischaracterizing a technical snafu and reportedly disabled the errant code after being contacted by a Journal reporter. Considering the technical intricacy of the allegations, this is outstanding journalism