Microsoft sniffs an opportunity in Google iPhone tracking affair

17 Feb 2012

Allegations that Google and other online advertising players have been bypassing the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser on iPhones and tracking users have turned out to be a boon for Microsoft.

The Seattle software giant posted a blog pointing out the virtues of its browser Internet Explorer 9 and the various privacy features it has.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Google and others used a special code that tricked Apple’s Safari browser into letting them monitor users.

While designed to block tracking by default, the code bypassed Safari’s settings.

The code, discovered by Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer, enables tracking across a large number of websites.

Not one to miss an opportunity, Microsoft wrote a blog celebrating its Internet Explorer 9 as “the browser that respects your privacy.”

Ryan Gavin, general manager, Internet Explorer Business and Marketing, wrote: “If you find this type of behaviour alarming and want to protect your confidential information and privacy while you’re online, there are alternatives for you. Windows Internet Explorer is the browser that respects your privacy. Through unique built-in features like Tracking Protection and other privacy features in IE9, you are in control of who is tracking your actions online. Not Google. Not advertisers. Just you.

“The Tracking Protection in IE9 is recognised as some of the strongest privacy protection in the industry. IE9 has been described as the ‘epitome of browser choice and control as far as protecting user privacy goes’ and praised ‘for making strides towards providing users with greater control over their privacy,’ ” Gavin wrote.

Would Microsoft rob Google or Apple’s grave so fast? Yes it would, it seems.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years