Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Google Tricks Internet Explorer into Accepting Tracking Cookies, Microsoft Claims

UPDATE : It turns out Facebook and many other sites are using an almost identical scheme to override Internet Explorer’s privacy setting, according to privacy researcher Lorrie Faith Cranor at Carnegie Mellon University. “Companies have discovered that they can lie in their[P3P policies] and nobody bothers to do anything about it,” Cranor wrote in a recent blog post.
UPDATE 2 : Google has gotten back to uswith a lengthy reply, arguing that Microsoft’s reliance on P3P forces outdated practices onto modern websites, and points to a study conducted in 2010 (the Carnegie Mellon research from Cranor and her colleagues) that studied 33,000 sites andfound about a third of them were circumventing P3P in Internet Explorer.
“Microsoft uses a ‘self-declaration’ protocol (known as ‘P3P’) dating from 2002 under which Microsoft asks websites to represent their privacy practices in machine-readable form,” Google Senior VP of Communications and Policy Rachel Whetstone says in a statement e-mailed to Ars. “It is well known—including by Microsoft—that it is impractical to comply with Microsoft’s request while providing modern web functionality.”
Facebook’s “Like” button, the ability to sign into websites using your Google account “and hundreds more modern web services” would be broken by Microsoft’s P3P policy, Google says. “It is well known that it is impractical to comply with Microsoft’s request while providing this web functionality,” Whetstone said. “Today the Microsoft policy is widely non-operational.”
That 2010 research even calls out Microsoft’s own msn.comand live.comfor providing invalid P3P policy statements. The research paper further states that “Microsoft’s support website recommends the use of invalid CPs as a work-around for a problem in IE.”
This article originally appeared on Ars Technica , Wired’s sister site for in-depthtechnology news.

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