LONDON, Feb. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Over a hundred people have contacted the
law firm that has launched a landmark privacy case against Google,
declaring their wish to join the action in the English courts after the
internet giant circumvented the security settings on Apple's Safari
browser which allowed it to track online usage covertly.
Less than a week after it was launched in the UK, 106 people have asked
the law firm, Olswang, to bring a case on their behalf. Over 500 people
have expressed their concern for Google's behaviour by endorsing the
Safari Users Against Google's Secret Tracking Facebook page created to
provide information to people affected. The Facebook page can be found
So far, Google has made no comment about the legal action.
The claims centre around tracking cookies, which were secretly installed
by Google on the computers and mobile devices of people using Apple's
Safari internet browser.
The first claimant to issue a letter of claim against Google,
74-year-old Judith Vidal-Hall, said: "Google can no longer be unaware
of the strength of feeling about its secret tracking but continues to
refuse to explain its conduct to consumers. People are quite rightly
outraged that a global company is treating them in this way. We hope
anyone who used Safari and who was covertly targeted by tailored
advertising joins this action."
Through its Doubleclick adverts, Google designed a code to circumvent
privacy settings in order to deposit the cookies on computers which
allowed them to provide user-targeted advertising. The claimants
thought that cookies were being blocked on their devices because of
Safari's strict default privacy settings and separate assurances being
given by Google at the time. This was not the case.
The practice was only stopped when an academic researcher noticed
Google's activity and published an exposé in the United States. Google
was subsequently found to be in violation of an existing order from the
US Federal Trade Commission and was fined a record $22.5million.
Olswang say that this action breached their clients' confidence and
privacy and are now seeking damages, disclosure and an apology from the
Dan Tench, a Partner at Olswang, said: "The volume of requests to take
action against Google should be no surprise given its reach within our
society. Consumers tell us they are determined to hold Google to
account. Anyone who used the Safari browser between September 2011 and
February 2012 may have a claim."
The firm has also received requests from claimants in other European
jurisdictions asking whether similar claims can be brought in other
countries. For information on joining the claim, email firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Olswang LLP
For further information:
Media enquiries: Olswang Press Office on +44(0)20-7067-3046.