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Google tries to dodge UK privacy suit

Google tries to dodge UK privacy suit

Google will today attempt to get a UK lawsuit over its tracking of Safari users thrown out, effectively claiming it does not need to answer to the UK legal system.

Google has been described as 'arrogant, immoral and a disgrace' over its attempts to have dismissed a legal case brought against it by illicitly-tracked Safari users in the UK.

The advertising giant was targeted by lawsuits in the US following the discovery that it was tracking users of Apple's Safari web browser via its DoubleClick subsidiary even when the settings of the browser were configured to explicitly deny permission for said tracking. While Google claimed the move was accidental, evidence that the tracking was a deliberate breach of customers' expectations of privacy led to a $22.5 million settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission - as part of which Google was not required to admit any wrongdoing. A second case, brought by the Attorney General of New York cost the company another $17 million, again without the requirement to admit culpability.

Back in January legal firm Olswang announced a UK-based lawsuit against Google for its Safari tracking - which occurred throughout 2011 and 2012 - with 74-year-old Google and Apple customer Judith Vidal-Hall as its spokesperson. 'Google claims it does not collect personal data, but doesn't say who decides what information is "personal,"' Vidal-Hall claimed at the time. 'Whether something is private or not should be up to the internet surfer, not Google. We are best placed to decide, not them.'

Today, Google enters the High Court in an attempt to get the case thrown out on the grounds that it is a US company incorporated in California - and that, not the UK, is the best venue for a lawsuit. It's a move that could should the judge agree, see the case dismissed even before evidence as to the company's alleged wrongdoing is presented.

'Google is very much here in the UK. It has a UK specific site. It has staff here. It sells adverts here. It makes money here. It is ludicrous for it to claim that, despite all of this very commercial activity, it won't answer to our courts,' claimed Vidal-Hall ahead of the hearing today. 'If consumers are based in the UK and English laws are abused, the perpetrator must be held to account here, not in a jurisdiction that might suit them better. Google's preference that British consumers should travel all the way to California to seek redress for its wrongdoings is arrogant, immoral and a disgrace. We will fight this attempt to dismiss the case robustly.'

'British users have a right to privacy protected by English and European laws,' added Olswang's Dan Tench, who will represent the claimants in the case. 'Google may weave complex legal arguments about why the case should not be heard here, but it has a legal and moral duty to users on this side of the Atlantic not to abuse their wishes. Google must be held to account here, even though it would prefer to ignore England.'

Google has not provided public comment on the case.

14 Comments

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Dave Lister 16th December 2013, 11:41 Quote
Back in January legal form Olswang - legal 'firm' ?
Gareth Halfacree 16th December 2013, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Back in January legal form Olswang - legal 'firm' ?
Ah, the joys of typos that result in perfectly valid words and therefore don't get a squiggly red line under 'em. Fixed, ta!
Dave Lister 16th December 2013, 14:09 Quote
What get's me is autocorrect always replacing english words with american words and single handedly destroying all those years in english classes !
Spreadie 16th December 2013, 14:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
What get's me is autocorrect always replacing english words with american words and single handedly destroying all those years in english classes !
Oh, where do I start? ;)
RedFlames 16th December 2013, 15:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
Oh, where do I start? ;)

'BONSAI!!!!' and 'GERANIUMS!!!!' is running joke amongst my friends due to backstabbing auto-correct [Supposed to be Banzai and Geronimo respectively]
Umbra 16th December 2013, 17:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
What get's me is autocorrect always replacing english words with american words and single handedly destroying all those years in english classes !

When I used the spelling"Realise" on another forum (this forum also puts a red line under it) I was quite viciously flamed by what seemed like half the American population who suddenly turned into the spelling police, when I explained that many countries spell it that way rather than "Realize" I was then informed that it was because all Europeans are illiterate and would not "recognize" (sic) true English if it kicked them in the head

I decided boredom was the better part of valour and couldn't be bothered to reply... it's VALOUR :(

No offense meant to our American members, thanks for putting up with our butchering of the English language :D
Umbra 16th December 2013, 17:22 Quote
I use "Duck Duck Go" they don't track you or save details, not used google for ages, you can live without it ;)
Assassin8or 16th December 2013, 17:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbra
I use "Duck Duck Go" they don't track you or save details, not used google for ages, you can live without it ;)

I really did try to use Duck duck go because I do value my privacy (as attested to by my plethora of Firefox privacy plugins.)

But I like results which I can read and pick the information out that I want. I can't get on with Bing similarly, I just seem to prefer the Google format for absorbing information quickly from searches.
Sloth 16th December 2013, 21:29 Quote
Does Google still use the "Don't be evil" motto? It's feeling more and more like they've forgotten it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbra

No offense meant to our American members, thanks for putting up with our butchering of the English language :D
Use whichever spelling you please, you'll butcher the pronounciation either way.
theshadow2001 16th December 2013, 22:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
Does Google still use the "Don't be evil" motto? It's feeling more and more like they've forgotten it.

Thats long gone. Their new motto is "Be a slimey *****"
faugusztin 16th December 2013, 22:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbra
I use "Duck Duck Go" they don't track you or save details, not used google for ages, you can live without it ;)

You do realize that this is about DoubleClick (google ads), so using different search engine won't help you when google ads are embedded in every second website :).
theshadow2001 16th December 2013, 23:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
You do realize that this is about DoubleClick (google ads), so using different search engine won't help you when google ads are embedded in every second website :).

Thats where the ghostery addon comes in. I'm blocking double click and google analytics right now with it.
Umbra 17th December 2013, 12:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001
Thats where the ghostery addon comes in. I'm blocking double click and google analytics right now with it.

I forgot to mention the Ghostery plugin I've tried a few privacy plugins but I find Ghostery is the best at the moment.
schmidtbag 17th December 2013, 14:54 Quote
This whole situations is so.... stupid. While I understand the UK court system has every right to be annoyed, they over-exaggerated the problem. It definitely is a douchebag move of Google to basically say "if you want it, come and get it" but honestly what is a law system without pursuit? If you murder someone, you can't expect them to walk over to the police station and turn themselves in.

For the record, I think this whole Safari thing being a "mistake" is such BS. I don't see how they could let such an obvious issue get past them so easily.

Anyway, I think what really bothers me is today, people are so full of nothing but hot air. I am really bored of people saying "mar mar mar I hate google because they record my searches" or "the NSA is listening to my phone calls blah blah blah" and yet nobody does anything about it (switching to a competitor doesn't help if you still use any of Google's services). Personally, I don't care - I knowingly use google search without disabling the tracking feature, because it is really that little of a concern to me.
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