Last week, an independent researcher brought to our attention that Google is employing a code in the advertisements it carries and tracking the users of Safari. Google instantly clarified that they are just advertising cookies and they do not gather or retain any information from users. Recently, Microsoft also charged them with the same thing. It seems Google is also tracking the users of Internet Explorer (wow, people still use that raging bummer of an Internet browser?).
Everyone seems to be busy playing the blame game.
The White House got tired of the games these giants play and they pushed Google to a corner with their proposed “Privacy Bill of Rights”. In an official statement, President Obama said, “American consumers can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online. As the Internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy.”
Google had to finally give in and agree to include a ‘do-not-track’ button on its official browser which will allow users to restrict the data that is being collected about them. Google, along with 400 other Internet advertising companies has agreed to support this movement to give the people on the Internet, a little privacy.
This means Google will not be able to collect user data any more and show targeted advertisements. This finally looks like an end to the online advertising battle zone that various companies have created. However, this button does not actually stop all web tracking and data can still be collected for market research and law enforcement offices, like the police. Also, the ‘Like’ button that you click on Facebook doesn’t actually fall under this “do not track” program and that data can still be used by the Internet advertisement firms.
Looks like this is a new beginning for a stalker-free world! (Well, except the Facebook ‘Like’, wonder how that got away.)
Image by topgold via Flickr
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About Sashank Nandury
Sashank was an accountant before he woke up on the wrong side of the bed one day and decided that he wanted to be a writer. As a result of which the erstwhile dominant left side of his brain is at constant war with the right – and he deals with both. He's an associate editor for wwwireframe. He believes that penguins have a world domination conspiracy going for them.