Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 6:17 EDT

European Internet Users Urge Regulators to “Rein in Google” on Privacy Concerns

May 19, 2013

LONDON, May 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

Internet users have instructed lawyers to press European internet regulators to take
robust action to address Google’s repeated privacy breaches once and for all and to ensure
Google complies with European laws in the future.

London-based law firm Olswang has written to the regulators, setting set out the
concerns of consumers about Google’s consolidation of personal data. The internet giant is
pooling data from all of its products, giving it a comprehensive record of each internet
user’s preferences.

Ross McKean, Olswang partner, argues that regulators must do more to ensure that
companies stay within the law:

“All companies must comply with data protection laws when collecting users’ data, and
Google is no exception. Despite having received detailed complaints from European
regulators about its handling of internet users’ personal information, Google seems
determined to ignore these and continue its plans to create comprehensive files on
consumers, pulling together data from a variety of sources, in many cases without any
apparent legal justification.

“The maximum fine the Information Commissioner can impose on Google for this action is
just half a million pounds. Google makes that much money from its operations in just one
country in less than two hours. It simply is not a deterrent.”

Consumers in the UK have already launched a legal action against Google for breaching
their privacy by installing cookies to track their online activities despite specifically
stating they did not want to be tracked. Similar actions in France and Spain are being
considered. In the United States, the company agreed to pay $22.5million to the US Federal
Trade Commission to settle a related action. The company has faced heavy criticism for
other breaches, including the illegal gathering of data such as banking details from home
computers whilst developing its Street View product. Campaigners like Marc Bradshaw say
that enough is enough:

“I don’t trust Google on privacy. They seem think they can behave however they like
because they have nothing to fear from regulators. The regulators need to take
extraordinary action to deal with a company determined to ignore users’ legal rights.

They and government need to ask themselves why Google is doing this so frequently and
why it is ignoring the laws of this country. Something must be done to rein in Google and
we believe our proposed sanctions for historic and ongoing breaches of privacy should be

The sanctions proposed by the campaigners include:

        - Clear warnings on Google's search home page explaining how and why data is
          collected and tracked;
        - Reversing Google's merger of all data across its services or, if that isn't
          possible, deleting all illegally merged data, with deletion independently verified;
        - A prominent apology to be placed on the Google search home page.

Marc Bradshaw continues: “Google is one of the largest companies in the world with
huge financial resources and access to the most expensive lawyers around the world. It
really shouldn’t be down to ordinary people to have to fight to ensure they comply with
the law. Regulators must rise to this challenge and rein in Google. If they fail, every
internet user in this country will suffer and the right to online privacy could be lost

Please do not contact the Olswang Press Office for further information on this

Notes to editors

Olswang LLP is an international law firm and a European leader in technology, media,
telecommunications and real estate. The firm comprises of over 700 people including more
than 110 partners, across eight international offices. Olswang is part of a ‘best friends’
network of leading independent law firms throughout the world.

        M&A International Global Awards 2013: TMT Law Firm of the Year, Germany
        M&A International Global Awards 2013: Real Estate Law firm of the Year, Germany
        World Finance Legal Awards 2013: Best Property Firm in Germany
        immobilienmanager.AWARD 2012: Category "sharing networks and know how", Germany
        Belgian Legal Awards 2012: Competition and Antitrust Law Firm of the Year, Belgium
        Lexis Nexis Taxation Awards 2012: Taxation Team of the Year
        M&A Awards 2011: Law Firm of the Year
        JUVE Awards 2011:  Real Estate Law Firm of the Year, Germany
        Chambers Asia Pacific 2011: Corporate Finance Mid-market Firm of the Year
        Finance Monthly Law Awards 2011: Real Estate Law Firm of the Year, Germany
        NOA Awards 2010: Outsourcing Advisory of the Year
        The Sunday Times Best Green Companies 2010
        The Law Society Award for Excellence in Environmental Responsibility 2010
        JUVE Awards 2010: Media Law Firm of the Year



Source: PR Newswire