Google privacy case back in court

Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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A bid by Google to block a breach of privacy legal action launched against it in the UK by a group of British internet users is back in court today.

At the High Court in London in January it unsuccessfully applied for a declaration that the court did not have jurisdiction to try the claims, which relate to the Apple Safari internet browser.

The group, known as Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking, have brought what they say is a “test” case, accusing the internet giant of bypassing security settings in order to track their online browsing and to target them with personalised advertisements.

A High Court judge ruled that the UK courts were the ”appropriate jurisdiction” to try their claims.

The Safari Users group includes editor and publisher Judith Vidal-Hall, and Robert Hann and Marc Bradshaw, who are both IT security company directors.

They say Google’s ”clandestine” tracking and collation of internet usage between summer 2011 and spring 2012 has led to distress and embarrassment among UK users.

They argued in court that Google’s bid to block a trial was ”misconceived” and the company should ”answer to British justice”.

Google argued that the UK courts were not the proper place to bring a claim, and dissatisfied Safari users should have launched their claims in the United States, where Google is based.

Disagreeing, Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled: ”I am satisfied that there is a serious issue to be tried in each of the claimant’s claims for misuse of private information.

”The claimants have clearly established that this jurisdiction is the appropriate one in which to try each of the above claims.”

After January’s ruling a Google spokeswoman said: ”A case almost identical to this one was dismissed in its entirety three months ago in the US. We still don’t think that this case meets the standards required in the UK for it to go to trial, and we’ll be appealing today’s ruling.”

Dan Tench, a partner at law firm Olswang, who is representing the claimants in the case, said in a statement: “The Court of Appeal hearing will decide whether British consumers actually have any right to hold Google to account in this country.

“This is the appropriate forum for this case – here in England where the consumers used the internet and where they have a right to privacy.”

The appeal will be heard in London by Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, Lord Justice McFarlane and Lady Justice Sharp.

Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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