GOOGLE TO LAUNCH LEGAL CHALLENGE TO AVOID BEING SUED IN BRITAIN FOR BREACHES OF PRIVACY – A group of people are now trying to bring an action against Google in the British High Courts after claiming Google breached their rights to privacy.
The issue stems from Apple’s online web browser, Safari, which includes software to prevent Google from tracking its users’ online.
According to the claimants, Google disabled the software between summer 2011 and spring 2012 without giving users notification prior to their actions and therefore allowed Google to track their activity without their knowledge or consent.
In its defence, Google is arguing that a British court has no jurisdiction over the lawsuit due to the company being located in California and therefore if such a lawsuit is to be brought then it must be heard through the U.S courts.
Google continues to fuel concern from internet users due to its on-going growth in which it has infiltrated almost every aspect of the internet.
Another thorn in the side of the British taxpayer continues to be how Google manages to legally avoid paying tax on the profits it makes through its UK operations. Google however denies any advertising sales actually go through the UK but rather through its offices in Dublin, Ireland – where corporation tax is significantly lower.
The law firm representing the group, Olswang, feels that it is apparent that Google has a significant presence in the UK; indeed it is currently constructing offices at a cost of nearly £1 billion and therefore such a presence clearly demonstrates that it has a base of operations therefore making Google open to lawsuits within the UK.
The group and their lawyers feel that Google simply has no respect for people’s privacy and will subvert any laws necessary in order to continue generating vast annual profits that has made Google the most powerful internet company in the world.
Recently in the United States, Google was subjected to a similar lawsuit in which it was ordered to pay a record breaking fine of £14.4 million. This case involved Google being accused, and subsequently being found guilty of, bypassing the privacy settings on iPads, iPhones and Apple Macs.
It was further reported that Google shelled out a further £10 million in order to settle yet another related case out of court.
Despite Google’s insistence that a UK court doesn’t have jurisdiction, a British High Court judge earlier this year granted Olswang and its clients permission to move forward with their lawsuit through the British High Court.
In order to block this move, Google’s lawyers have now submitted an argument that any information it did obtain from its search engine cannot be deemed as either ‘private or confidential’ and that it has no obligation to keep such data confidential.
Whilst the legal issues continue to be debated there has long been a concern that Google is losing public trust at an inexplicable rate.
Google might well be the major player on the internet for search and advertising but ultimately it can be brought down if users in sufficient enough numbers abandon use of Google products and services.