Friday, March 16, 2012

Google And Others Should Face Criminal Prosecution Hacking Safari Privacy Violations


Before I start, I am both an Apple and Google fan.  I love Apple’s seamless integration and I purposefully live within its walled garden.  At the same time, I love the everywhereness of Google’s Android OS and apps.  And I think Google has done great things to liberate information and made our lives so much better.

Now, I get to the subject matter.

Today, we learn that Google is facing additional attention from the US and EU regulatory bodies over their hacking of the Safari privacy issue.  Essentially, Google hacked into a vulnerability that Apple failed to plug.  Yes, yes, Apple screwed up and allowed this vulnerability to exist in the first place.  Shame on them.  I’ve always been annoyed with Apple’s slowness to get these things done.  However, Google did use this security hole and essentially hacked into Safari that allows them to install tracking cookies.

Now, Google isn’t the only one.  Other ad companies have been known to have done the same thing.  And that, the EU as well as the US government should bring criminal charges against them.

Consider this.  If you or I did this, we’d be in a lot of trouble and we likely would have to lawyer up by now.  Civil suits would the be least of our problems.  I can see New York’s attorney general bring the hammer down on us.  Just because it’s Google or other corporate entities, not individuals like you or me, should not mean they get treated differently under the law.  As individuals, we’d be known as hackers, and not in a glorified manner.

There are individuals that operate these companies and made the conscious decision to use a known vulnerability to hack into web browsers and violate user privacy and their wishes that they not be tracked.

Google is already facing a whole host of privacy probes.  So, I don’t get their stupidity in this instance.  And I do wish that Google and others are bought in front of a court and made to answer.

As I said at the top of the post, I’m both an Apple and Google fan.  As an Android user, I’ve got no issues with Google knowing what they know about me.  As an iOS user, what I don’t want to share with Google, I don’t.  And they forced open that door that I wanted closed.

So, that’s why I think Google should not eventually face civil judgments on this but criminal ones as well.  And yes, if Apple or anyone else pull this type of shenanigan, they should face the same prosecution as well.

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