Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 5:48 EDT

Consumers Launch Landmark Legal Case Against Google Snooping

January 27, 2013

LONDON, January 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

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

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 Tracking.

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


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 expose 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

Olswang say that this action breached their clients’ confidence and privacy and are
now seeking damages, disclosure and an apology from the company.

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 daniel.tench@olswang.com

Media enquiries: Olswang Press Office on +44(0)20-7067-3046.


Source: PR Newswire