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Google Tracks iPhone Users Without Consent

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NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) - Some members of Congress are calling for an investigation of Google, after word came out the company has been tracking iPhone users all over the Internet — even users who thought they blocked that kind of surveillance. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone spoke with the man who uncovered what Google was doing. Stanford University grad student Jonathan Meyer was doing research on Internet privacy, when he discovered the computer code that let Google bypass user privacy settings.

“If you went to these sites and thought you were there privately, you weren’t?” asked Blackstone.

“That’s right,” Meyer said.

Google tracked iPhone users by cheating Safari. Most iPhone and iPad users access the Internet through Apple’s Safari browser, which automatically sets up a barrier to keep out tracking programs from third-party advertisers. Google found a way to secretly get through that barrier, letting the advertisers flow in and tracking information flow out. “The technology we were looking at involves taking what Google learned through organizing your information, and using that to enrich their advertising content on non-Google websites,” said Meyer.

Blackstone posed a question: “Google’s slogan: ‘Do no evil.’ Is this evil?”

“I think it raises question about evil,” said Meyer. “I hesitate to give a bright line response on the evil or not. I think if evil includes negligence and gross negligence, then this is evil.”

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