Google and Facebook teamed up to beat Apple's consumer privacy agenda

Posted:
in Mac Software edited October 23
Google worked with Facebook to work around Apple's privacy tools in Safari to continue tracking end users, an update to an antitrust lawsuit claims, with the search company also doing what it could to slow down other regulatory initiatives surrounding privacy.




A lawsuit was filed against Google in December 2020 by a group of attorneys general, accusing the search company of "engaging in market collusion to rig auctions." While the lawsuit largely focuses on a deal between Google and Facebook to cooperate in the online advertising business instead of competing, an update accuses the two tech giants of trying to work against initiatives by Apple to help protect the privacy of its users.

The amended complaint, filed on October 22 and first reported by The Register, expands on the original claim in a number of directions, revealing more ways that Google may have tried to subvert user privacy.

As part of the complaint, it is alleged Google and Facebook "have been working together to improve Facebook's ability to recognize users using browsers with blocked cookies, on Apple devices, and on Apple's Safari Browser, thereby circumventing one Big Tech company's efforts to compete by offering users better privacy.

This was apparently prompted by the two companies working closely and in integrating their SDKs "so Google can pass Facebook data for user ID cookie matching," the complaint reads. "They also coordinated with each other to harm publishers through adoption of Unified Pricing rules."

Apple has implemented many privacy protection measures into its products, including Safari, such as 2018's Intelligent Tracking Protection 2.0. The system required websites to request tracking privileges from users on an opt-in basis, with a culling of cookies 30 days after the user stops visiting relevant sites, along with independent tracking of widgets and embeds.

A privacy report in Safari for macOS Big Sur offered users data on what trackers a website includes, as well as advising on how many trackers were prevented from profiling the user over a 30-day period.

In the summer of 2021, Apple rolled out App Tracking Transparency, which forced users to decide whether to allow apps to track them, or to block them from doing so. The initiative has been impactful, affecting many advertising-centric firms, including Facebook.

The amended complaint also goes further into Jedi, Google's codename for a system that allowed the search company to offer to send ad space inventory of publishers to be sold on multiple exchanges. In reality, Google allegedly made it so its own exchange would win, despite higher bids from other exchanges, with the system apparently made to avoid competition.

An earlier version of a system referred to as "Bernanke" surfaced in April, in a report which detailed the gaming of Google's ad-serving market by Apple's ad-sales platform.

Google also apparently attempted to "forestall and diminish child privacy protections in proposed regulations by the FTC." A document prepared in advance for a meeting between Google and other tech companies in August 2019 revealed there was a need for the search company to "rein in" firms like Microsoft so they didn't compete on privacy.

In an email to the publication, a Google spokesperson said "Just because [Texas Attorney General Ken] Paxton says something doesn't make it true."

Google also said "We've been clear about our support for consistent privacy rules around the globe. For example, we have been calling on Congress to pass federal privacy legislation for years."

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11

    Google and Facebook - the companies of the evil for the users

    olsOferStrangeDayswilliamlondonAnilu_777jas99Dogpersoncat52watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,637member
    Do no evil. The often quoted reminder that your personal data is Google’s and Facebook’s product is never more clear than now. Without their user’s data both companies fade away quickly. Your data is the fuel that drives both companies business models. For Google especially, all of their ‘free’ apps and services that are so enticing to some are paid for with customer data gleaned without permission or notification. Selling customer data to advertisers is how both Google and Facebook exist. They have nothing else of value to offer. 

    So no surprise at all they spend time and talent trying to get around Apple’s privacy initiatives. 

    Of course, you-know-who will be along to tell us this article is full of scurrilous, misinformed accusations toward the world’s most ethical, kind, benevolent, consumer friendly corporation to ever exist on the planet. 🤓
    edited October 23 hexclockbaconstangwilliamlondonAnilu_777jas99Dogpersonbluefire1cat52watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 11
    The report seems to show a coordinated attempt to break into everyone's iPhone/iPad/Mac.  
    Surely there has to be at least one law in the USA, the land of a gazillion laws that they can be charged with?

    OTOH, Apple could retaliate. Get the proof and plaster it all over social media, TV, and every other media outlet including the billboard on Times Sq. Then take all FB and Google apps out of the Apps store.
    There has to come a time when Apple goes on the offensive and makes it known that they are not going to sit back and do nothing any longer.

    Anilu_777jas99Dogpersonaderutterbluefire1cat52watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 11
    The report seems to show a coordinated attempt to break into everyone's iPhone/iPad/Mac.  
    Surely there has to be at least one law in the USA, the land of a gazillion laws that they can be charged with?

    OTOH, Apple could retaliate. Get the proof and plaster it all over social media, TV, and every other media outlet including the billboard on Times Sq. Then take all FB and Google apps out of the Apps store.
    There has to come a time when Apple goes on the offensive and makes it known that they are not going to sit back and do nothing any longer.

    The game Tim plays is named selective indignation
    edited October 23 williamlondonSkepticalbeowulfschmidtcat52
  • Reply 5 of 11
    The report seems to show a coordinated attempt to break into everyone's iPhone/iPad/Mac.  
    Surely there has to be at least one law in the USA, the land of a gazillion laws that they can be charged with?

    OTOH, Apple could retaliate. Get the proof and plaster it all over social media, TV, and every other media outlet including the billboard on Times Sq. Then take all FB and Google apps out of the Apps store.
    There has to come a time when Apple goes on the offensive and makes it known that they are not going to sit back and do nothing any longer.

    Apple could just drop Google search from iOS, but of course they won’t. They make far too much money for that. 
    elijahgDogperson
  • Reply 6 of 11
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    Seriously fuck these guys. Privacy is something many users want, and choose. For Google & Facebook to actively circumvent it and find new ways to track users against their will, at the behest of their actual customers the advertisers...is just a shitty corporate failing. They are broken at the top. There is no fixing it, and any story or quote about them trying to re-tool for privacy is just pure BS to mask what they really want.
    edited October 23 baconstangwilliamlondonjas9912StrangersbshankDogpersonbluefire1watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 11
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    Roderikus said:
    The report seems to show a coordinated attempt to break into everyone's iPhone/iPad/Mac.  
    Surely there has to be at least one law in the USA, the land of a gazillion laws that they can be charged with?

    OTOH, Apple could retaliate. Get the proof and plaster it all over social media, TV, and every other media outlet including the billboard on Times Sq. Then take all FB and Google apps out of the Apps store.
    There has to come a time when Apple goes on the offensive and makes it known that they are not going to sit back and do nothing any longer.

    The game Tim plays is named selective indignation
    Huh? No, there is a set of values from leadership. You may not like them, but it is no different than any other body or entity.
    williamlondonjas99bshankigorskywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 11
    mike54mike54 Posts: 480member
    I'm not fan of Apple these days, but what's worse is Google, Microsoft and Facebook. I use Microsoft - Windows, Google -mail and drive and youtube, Facebook don't touch it.

    hmmm... new macbooks pros like enticing, that will get rid Microsoft.
    I wonder what the macbook air and mac mini upgrades will be like.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    AppleInsider publishes an article damning Google and Facebook of trying to circumvent Apple. While at the same time, Apple has successfully blocked 25 trackers (here on this article)  from profiling me. Lol, the irony.
    applguylkruppwilliamlondoncat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    AppleInsider publishes an article damning Google and Facebook of trying to circumvent Apple. While at the same time, Apple has successfully blocked 25 trackers (here on this article)  from profiling me. Lol, the irony.

    If you want to be tracked and profiled it’s within your powers to allow it LoL, the irony 😃

    qwerty52williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 11
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 598member
    hexclock said:
    The report seems to show a coordinated attempt to break into everyone's iPhone/iPad/Mac.  
    Surely there has to be at least one law in the USA, the land of a gazillion laws that they can be charged with?

    OTOH, Apple could retaliate. Get the proof and plaster it all over social media, TV, and every other media outlet including the billboard on Times Sq. Then take all FB and Google apps out of the Apps store.
    There has to come a time when Apple goes on the offensive and makes it known that they are not going to sit back and do nothing any longer.

    Apple could just drop Google search from iOS, but of course they won’t.
    As a shareholder I certainly hope they don't.
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