Safari users in the UK can sue Google over alleged privacy violations

29 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Do you use Safari? You could have the right to sue Google for snooping.

Google’s claim to the Court of Appeal to prevent three British computer users from suing it over an alleged privacy breach within the UK has been overturned in a landmark privacy case Google’s appeal claiming the case of three British internet users attempting to sue the company over an alleged privacy breach was not serious has been overturned by the Court of Appeal.

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. 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.

In a statement, the three judges hearing the case said: “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 case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused.” Google’s DoubleClick business regularly collects information on people’s web browsing activity through so-called ‘cookies’, lines of code stored on people’s hard drives that demarcate the user and send information to the cookie’s planter. 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.

But DoubleClick developed what was dubbed the ‘Safari workaround’ that allowed it to track people’s activity on the rival web browser Safari, developed by Apple. Ordinary computer users like me will now have the right to hold this giant to account before the courts for its unacceptable, immoral and unjust actions,” she said. Whilst it has the resources to fight individual claimants, together we have the resources and funding to bring this serious matter before the English courts and to attempt to recover damages for Safari users.

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