The recent story in the WSJ about Google ‘bypassing Safari security settings’ is getting out of hand in the media. What they don’t seem to be focusing on is the other side of the argument, not that company X bypassed browser Y’s security settings, but browser Y’s security settings apparently don’t work.
There hasn’t been any forced attempts to break security in any particular browser, Google is just taking advantage of the way these settings work. Others do the same too, it’s not just Google. And let’s put this is perspective: ALL WEBSITES TRACK YOU (to some degree or another).
There needs to be some resetting of people’s expectations of privacy on the internet. Unless you’re taking extreme measures involving anonymous proxies and encryption, then the reality of it is that there is no privacy on the internet. All sites track you by some means because it’s how they make their money. Sites don’t offer you the use of their services for free because they’re charities or see it as a public service that they should do so, they’re offering you services for free as a way to get ads in front of your eyeballs. Taking this a step further, if they can provide information on your surfing habits to advertisers so that they can target ads specifically to you and increase the chance that you’ll a) click an ad, and b) make a purchase, then that information is even more valuable and advertisers are prepared to pay for this information. This is why you are tracked.
Most if not all websites have a privacy statement linked from the footer of every page on their site. Other sites that require a sign up will have lengthy terms and conditions which you must agree to by signing up and for using that site. Maybe it’s time more people started reading these to find out what sites on the internet typically do. Most people apparently would be surprised.
If you want or even expect privacy, then please disconnect your internet connection. In today’s world you’re not going to find any privacy on the internet.