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Consumers Launch Landmark Legal Case Against Google Snooping

LONDON, Jan. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - 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 covertly. 
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 
http://www.facebook.com/SafariUsersAgainstGooglesSecretTracking 
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 exposé 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 $22.5million. 
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: Olswang LLP 
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/January2013/27/c8970.html 
CO: Olswang LLP
NI: LAW VERDICTS LAWVIEWS  
-0- Jan/27/2013 11:27 GMT