Google Sued By Apple Users In U.K. Over Alleged Secret Safari Tracking

January 29, 2013 0

London — Riding on the heels of the recent U.S. lawsuit against Google for Safari tracking, a new privacy battle against the Web giant is heating up in the U.K. as a group of Apple’s Safari web browser users have initiated their own legal campaign against Google over privacy concerns. The group asserts that Google dodged Safari’s security settings to install cookies which tracked their movements on the internet.

Annoyed that their online privacy was violated, approximately a dozen people British iPhone users are suing Google in a class action suit and dozens more are being lined up, according to Dan Tench, the lawyer behind the action at the London-based firm Olswang.

Around 10 million Britons could have grounds to institute a privacy campaign over the way Google dodged Apple’s security settings on the iPhone, iPad and desktop versions of its Safari web browser to monitor their behavior.


Image Credit: (Techradar.com)

The case claims that Google secretly tracked their Internet habits via cookies in the Safari Web browser. The lawsuit revolves around the way Google may have sidestepped Apple’s security settings on the iPhone, iPad, and desktop versions of Safari. The law firm representing the group said that the search giant had “breached their clients’ confidence and privacy and are now seeking damages, disclosure and an apology” from Google.

“This is the first time Google has been threatened with a group claim over privacy in the UK,” he said. “It is particularly concerning how Google dodged security settings to snoop on its users. One of the things about Google is that it is so ubiquitous in our lives and if that is its approach then it is quite concerning.”

Furthermore, the plaintiffs want Google to say how it used the information it allegedly got its hands on, according to The Guardian. Also, they demand that how much of their personal data was supposedly taken and over what period of time. They are suing Google for breaches of confidence and privacy, computer misuse and trespassing, and breach of the Data Protection Act of 1998.

In November, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled with Google for $22.5 million in a similar case. In this suit, the FTC also claimed that the Web company illegally circumvented user privacy settings in Safari. The FTC and Google previously reached a settlement in August when the company admitted that it “placed an advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network.”

According to The Guardian, compensation in this suit could be in the millions since the U.K. has 10 million people who use the applicable Apple products and could sign on as plaintiffs.

However, Google declined to comment on the latest action, which has been launched to coincide with the sixth annual Data Privacy Day in the UK.