LONDON, Jan. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - A group of internet users has launched a
landmark privacy case against Google for undermining the security
settings on Apple's Safari browser to track online usage covertly.
In the first case of its kind in the UK, a number of people with
concerns about Google's behaviour have decided to take action and are
forming a campaigning group called Safari Users Against Google's Secret
They have instructed the law firm, Olswang, to coordinate the claims and
are marking Data Privacy Day tomorrow (Jan 28) by launching a Facebook
page to provide information to the many other people who might also
have been affected. The Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/SafariUsersAgainstGooglesSecretTracking
The claims centre around tracking cookies, which had been secretly
installed by Google on the computers and mobile devices of people using
Apple's Safari internet browser.
The first claimant to issue proceedings, 74-year-old Judith Vidal-Hall,
said: "Google claims it does not collect personal data but doesn't say
who decides what information is 'personal'. Whether something is
private or not should be up to the internet surfer, not Google. We are
best placed to decide, not them."
Through its DoubleClick adverts, Google designed a code to circumvent
privacy settings in order to deposit the cookies on computers in order
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: "Google has a responsibility to
consumers and should be accountable for the trust placed in them. We
hope that they will take this opportunity to give Safari users a proper
explanation about what happened, to apologise and, where appropriate,
compensate the victims of their intrusion."
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.