Bloomberg News

Google Will Answer Privacy Questions Over Safari ‘Cookies’

March 16, 2012

Google Inc. (GOOG) will cooperate with privacy regulators looking into how its advertising “cookies” were enabled by Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s Safari Internet browser.

Google has been removing the files since discovering that a temporary link created between Safari and Google’s servers enabled other ad cookies to be set on the browser program, the company said today. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Google is being investigated by U.S. and European Union regulators for using Safari users’ information and bypassing the Apple software’s privacy settings.

“We will of course cooperate with any officials who have questions,” Mountain View, California-based Google said in an e-mailed statement. “We didn’t anticipate this would happen, and we have been removing these advertising cookies from Safari.”

Google’s privacy policy is under review by France’s data- protection agency acting on behalf of other European regulators. The world’s largest Web-search provider defied two requests by the National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties, known by its French acronym as CNIL, to suspend changes to the policy while it was determined whether those changes comply with European privacy standards.

CNIL is preparing a list of questions to send to Google next week, a spokeswoman for the agency said today. She declined to comment on whether the questionnaire would cover the Safari cookies, and declined to be cited by name, citing CNIL policy.

European regulators “are very concerned, because they are persuaded that these new rules are not at all compliant with the existing European laws,” EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said March 1, when Google’s privacy changes took effect.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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