Google loses ruling in Safari tracking case

29 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Defeated in English Court of AppealThe landmark hearing followed an earlier defeat for Google in the English High Court in which it was unsuccessful in preventing three British computer users from having the right to sue it for breach of privacy, after the computer giant ignored users’ wishes not to have tracking cookies placed on their computers. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales this week rejected Google’s attempt to dismiss a case that emerged after the search giant misrepresented how users of Apple’s Safari browser were having their Internet activity tracked.LONDON—A U.K. court ruled Friday that British iPhone users can sue Google Inc. for allegedly tracking them inappropriately via Apple Inc.’s Safari browser. Google took the matter to Appeal, arguing that the issue was not serious and, in any case, the claimants could not demonstrate they had lost out financially as a consequence of the company’s actions. Several years ago, Google placed advertising cookies on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network.

The decision is the latest fallout from Wall Street Journal reporting in 2012 that Google and other companies had tracked iPhone users without their consent in 2011 and 2012. The complainants, called Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking, claimed that Google tracked their browsing habits during the latter part of 2011 and early 2012, using the data to serve them targeted advertising.

They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature… about and associated with the claimants’ internet use, and the subsequent use of that information for about nine months. They claim that the company acted contrary to a 2009 amendment to an EU directive which requires consent before cookies are placed on a user’s device for advertising purposes.

Google has previously settled claims in the U.S. stemming from the tracking, including a $17 million settlement in 2013 with 37 states and Washington, D.C., as well as a $22.5 million settlement in 2012 with the Federal Trade Commission. The High Court ruled in January 2014 that Google could be sued by the group, and that the UK courts were the “appropriate jurisdiction” to hear the claims. We look forward to holding Google to account for its actions.” The decision opens the door to litigation by millions of Britons who used Apple computers, iPhones and iPads during the relevant period of Summer 2011 and Spring 2012. Founded by the Google Governance Campaign, it has funding and a specialist law firm instructed to bring an action at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Group’s website – http://www.googleactiongroup.com – will be launched on Monday and any consumer wishing to join the action should contact the Group via that vehicle.

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