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Halliday reports: "Google has been called 'arrogant and immoral' for arguing that a privacy claim brought by internet users in the UK should not be heard by the British legal system."

Google is accused by claimants of secretly monitoring their behaviour by circumventing security settings on the iPhone, iPad and desktop versions of the Safari web browser. (photo: Walter Bieri)
Google is accused by claimants of secretly monitoring their behaviour by circumventing security settings on the iPhone, iPad and desktop versions of the Safari web browser. (photo: Walter Bieri)


Google Will Not Answer to British Court Over UK Privacy Claim

By Josh Halliday, Guardian UK

16 December 13

 

Search giant insists lawsuit concerning UK internet users' privacy should be brought in California where it is based.

oogle has been called "arrogant and immoral" for arguing that a privacy claim brought by internet users in the UK should not be heard by the British legal system.

The search giant will tell the high court on Monday that it should throw out claims that it secretly tracked the browsing habits of millions of iPhone users.

In the first group claim brought against Google in the UK, the internet firm has insisted that the lawsuit must be brought in California, where it is based, instead of a British courtroom.

Hundreds of internet users are preparing to sue Google if the test case gets the green light.

Google is accused by the claimants of secretly monitoring their behaviour by circumventing security settings on the iPhone, iPad and desktop versions of the Safari web browser.

Judith Vidal-Hall, one of the claimants suing Google, said: "Google is very much here in the UK. It has a UK specific site. It has staff here. It sells adverts here. It makes money here. It is ludicrous for it to claim that, despite all of this very commercial activity, it won't answer to our courts.

"If consumers are based in the UK and English laws are abused, the perpetrator must be held to account here, not in a jurisdiction that might suit them better. Google's approach that British consumers should travel all the way to California to seek redress for its wrongdoings is arrogant, immoral and a disgrace."

Google will argue on Monday that the case does not meet the standard required to be heard at the high court in London. Lawyers for the search firm are expected to tell the judge that a similar privacy claim was recently struck out in the US and that no European regulators are currently investigating this issue.

But lawyers for the claimants will argue that Google should answer to the British legal system for allegedly breaching the privacy of internet users on UK soil.

"British users have a right to privacy protected by English and European laws," said Dan Tench, a solicitor from the law firm Olswang, which represents the claimants.

"Google may weave complex legal arguments about why the case should not be heard here, but they have a legal and moral duty to users on this side of the Atlantic not to abuse their wishes. Google must be held to account here, even though it would prefer to ignore England."

A Google spokesman said: "A case almost identical to this one was dismissed in its entirety two months ago in the US. We're asking the court to re-examine whether this case meets the standards required in the UK for a case like this to go to trial."


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+13 # reiverpacific 2013-12-16 11:44
"If consumers are based in the UK and English laws are abused, the perpetrator must be held to account here, not in a jurisdiction that might suit them better. Google's approach that British consumers should travel all the way to California to seek redress for its wrongdoings is arrogant, immoral and a disgrace.(Quote).
First, I wish to bloody-hell that the global press -even the progressive sector- would quit referring the the UK (United Kingdom -generally understood as being Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England) as "ENGLAND", until and if Scotland achieves independence (the most likely) and N. Ireland joins the republic to the South. Scotland and England have separate and different judicial systems for a start.
Of course Google wants to be tried in California -the complaints can more easily be manipulated by US - California educated and experienced lawyers, the cream of which they can well afford, and politicians more easily bought off or silenced.
Not that the ENGLISH system is perfect or even-handed by any means, especially under the Cameron goon-squad but better brought into court there (wonder if it would be tried at the Old Bailey, home of great CRIMINAL trials, or at one of the more "respectable" civil divisions of the English judiciary?). Also, if the UK is the plaintiff, then should the case be tried in Scotland as well?
To the Tower and/or Edinburgh Castle, with them! -chained to a wall in a dank dungeon just out of reach of the crust and water!
 
 
0 # stannadel 2013-12-17 05:53
1st of all it was the English complainant who referred to English laws--and as you point out, England and Scotland have different legal systems so it is reasonable for her to refer to English laws in this context. Otherwise you make a good point.
 
 
+7 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-12-16 12:20
Yet the USA tries complaints against overseas defendants in its own turf. Do as I say, not as I do....
 
 
+2 # Kiwikid 2013-12-16 13:42
Yep, what's good for the goose has to be good for the gander. The American government successfully extradited British citizen Christopher Tappin. They are currently attempting to winkle Kim Dotcom of Megaupload, a German living in New Zealand, who has no home, office, or business in the USA, out of this country (NZ), to face piracy and copywrite charges, for stuff allegedly done on the internet that they believe harmed their corporate business interests.
 
 
-6 # jwb110 2013-12-16 13:38
I understand the Brits complaint but Google is a big enough presence to be its own country. The Brits may awake a sleeping giant and not like the outcome. The real complaint should be about their own gov't surveillance community.
 
 
+2 # AUCHMANNOCH 2013-12-16 18:30
If the EU - USA Free Trade Agreement goes ahead then we will see these kinds of actions heard by SECRET Corporate Courts; so a countries courts won't matter a damn anyway.
Does anyone think that for the likes of Google the secret Corporate Courts will be less lenient than Californian Courts? Somehow - I don't think so.

It's interesting to see that Google is now supporting right wing think tanks in the U.S.A. AND have just bought a robot manufacturing company with ties to the U.S. military. For these reasons and for the reasons outlined in this article I have migrated to DuckDuckGo as my search engine. A mini rebellion I know, that in the scheme of things isn't much, but if millions did the same that might make a difference. Can anyone recommend a browser that doesn't track your every move? Not that I'm ashamed of my internet searches but I just don't like being SPIED on!

I am 65 and this Google spying is quite amusing in a way and in Facebook for example 'my advertisements that target me' include: Genealogy (My hobby) golf (my hobby)Art supplies (Painting is a hobby) but also 'mature women looking for love in my neighbourhood (not a hobby - happily married for 40 years!)Funereal insurance (Big rip off!) Massage chairs etc. Burial plots for sale.ha ha ha!
And Reiver, as I am distantly related to William Wallace through his mother - a Cunningham, I better get a Scottish passport when Scotland votes for FREEDOM!
 
 
+4 # SOF 2013-12-16 21:20
Is the whole thing moot once the TPP and its spawn become legal? According to TPP rules, no country can oppose using a product -no matter what the other country's objections, without paying what $$$ the corporation would have made -according to the corp, of course! This is why Mexico has to pay Monsanto what they would have made with GMO sugarbeets, because Mexico wants to protect its sugarcane industry. That came from NAFTA. PTT is same, but worse. Corporations rule.
 
 
0 # tigerlille 2013-12-18 20:45
Another case of too big to prosecute?
 

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