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Google to be investigated for bypassing privacy settings on Safari

Google admits to using a special computer code to automatically install tracking "cookies" on Safari even if they were turned off by the browser.

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Google is being investigated by EU and US authorities over privacy breach on Apple's Safari browser. (John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

Google is being investigated by US and European Union authorities for undermining privacy settings on Apple's Safari web browser, according to the Wall Street Journal, who discovered the alleged misconduct.

The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Google was using a special computer code to automatically install tracking "cookies" on Safari used on computers, iPhones and iPads, even if the browser was set to block this kind of tracking.

So-called "cookies" work as tracking devices to collect information about the user's browsing patterns in order to target advertisements.

Google has said it will cooperate with the investigation.

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

Acccording to Fox News, Google said it began bypassing the privacy setting on Safari last year in order to implement a "+1" feature, part of the Google Plus social network, into some advertisements.

The Mountain View, California-based company said that the tracking was unintentional.

The investigation is being led by France’s data-protection agency acting on behalf of other European regulators, said Bloomberg.

Google has sparred with the French regulator since it introduced a new privacy policy last month, which European regulators have yet to determine comply with existing EU privacy laws.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/120316/google-be-investigated-bypassing-privacy-settings