UK Safari users seek damages against Google over privacy breaches

By Peter Gothard
28 Jan 2013 View Comments

A group of UK consumers is pursuing damages against Google in line with last year's accusations that the company was storing cookies in Apple's Safari web browser, regardless of users' privacy settings.

Though Google was last year fined $22.5m (£1.6m) by the US Federal Trade Commission for this practice - which was alleged to have been active throughout 2011 and 2012 - the group of UK consumers feel that damages ought to be levied that reflect the global nature of the privacy breach.

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The group, which calls itself "Safari Users Against Google's Secret Tracking", has taken on the services of law firm Olswang, which said in a statement:

"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."

Several clients are already on Olswang's books for the case, including the 74-year-old former editor of Index on Censorship magazine, Judith Vidal-Hall. She said: "Google claims it does not collect personal data but it doesn't say who decides what information is 'personal'." 

She added: "Whether something is private or not should be up to the internet surfer, not Google. We are best placed to decide, not them." 

Any of the UK's 10 million estimated Apple product users could have been affected at the time of the allegations, and Olswang is urging them to step forward to join the group. 

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