Google fires back at Microsoft on tracking: Internet Explorer is “widely non-operational”

Google fires back at Microsoft on tracking: Internet Explorer is “widely non-operational” ...

The war of words between Microsoft and Google has just been a raised a notch after Google released a statement in which it criticises the the Redmond-based firm, saying that settings for its Internet Explorer Web browser are “widely non-operational”.

The comments come after Microsoft jumped into the brouhaha surrounding a Wall Street Journal report that found that Google had been overriding mandatory security settings on Apple’s Safari browser.

In a statement last week, Microsoft claimed that Google’s Web monitoring practices are “not new”, before it went on to claim that its Internet Explorer 9 browser has some of the “strongest privacy protection in the industry.”

Here’s the full statement in response from Google, via The Verge:

Microsoft omitted important information from its blog post today.

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. It is well known – including by Microsoft – that it is impractical to comply with Microsoft’s request while providing modern web functionality. We have been open about our approach, as have many other websites.

Today the Microsoft policy is widely non-operational. A 2010 research report indicated that over 11,000 websites were not issuing valid P3P policies as requested by Microsoft.

For many years, Microsoft’s browser has requested every website to “self-declare” its cookies and privacy policies in machine readable form, using particular “P3P” three-letter policies.

Today the Microsoft policy is widely non-operational.

This is the latest in a long line of public blows between the two companies. Previous Microsoft campaigns have tried to paint Google’s products as unnecessarily intrusive, and loose with your private information. For more on the exchanges, read here, and here.

Many of Google’s privacy issues have arisen following the company’s decision to amalgamate its privacy policies into one document, which states that it may track users across products and services, without an option to opt-out. This has forced government regulators and consumer watchdogs to request Google delays the roll out of its new policy, so they are able to analyse the new rules and assess the impact on Google users.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft to see if it has a response to the latest comment from Google, we’ll let you know what we hear. In the meantime, go grab the popcorn if you’re into tech squabbles.

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