HIGH COURT DECLARES CLAIMANTS CAN BRING GOOGLE TO TRIAL OVER ALLEGED BREACH OF PRIVACY – Judith Vidal-Hall, Robert Hann and Marc Bradshaw claim that Google has breached their privacy by monitoring their online browsing activity in order to deliver highly targeted advertising.
Read full story … Daily Mail
Many internet users will view the latest move as a victory for all internet users who are tired of seeing Google monitor their online habits with the remit of delivering targeted advertising.
Recently Google announced that a trial could not be brought in the United Kingdom as their operations, based in California, were outside of the UK’s jurisdiction.
However, yesterday a High Court judge ruled that the plaintiffs’ case can be heard in the UK.
The group of plaintiffs’, known as the Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking, intends to sue Google for secretly tracking their browsing habits so that Google can ultimately bombard them with targeted advertisements.
The accusations include the misuse of private information, breach of confidence and breaking data protection laws in which they feel should be answerable to in a British court of law; the High Court judge agreed.
Google has almost constantly been in the forefront of international news in recent months and all for the wrong reasons.
Google’s unofficial company slogan ‘Don’t do evil’ appears laughable as many view the tech company now as one of the most intrusive companies ever to have been developed. This persona wasn’t helped last year as Google’s CEO Eric Schultz declared… “If you don’t want people to know what you are doing online then don’t do it in the first place.”
This little revelation came back to bite him hard as users around the globe finally realised that Big Brother, aka Google, was watching their every keystroke online in order to boost the company’s profits.
Last year Google was also accused of providing vast amounts of personal data to the U.S National Security Agency (NSA); something that Google, along with Facebook, vehemently denied.
We’ve spoken to many online users and there are vast amounts of anti-Google articles on the web which center on Google’s ability to covertly garner private data in order to continue making billions of dollars in advertising revenue year in year out.
As you will be aware, we at meebal.com display Google Ads and we decided to do a little test. We visited a number of other websites and upon returning to meebal.com and refreshing the page the advertisements changed to reflect our recent browsing history; that is the advertisements were now targeting our perceived interests based on websites we had been viewing.
Is this intrusive? Yes, for it clearly shows that whatever we do as online users is being monitored by Google.
There can be no question that Google, in a number of areas, has made our online activities far more productive and none more so when it comes to searching for content.
Google currently retains the number one slot as the most used search engine to find content although their market share has decreased from the mid 90% to under 70% in recent years; according to comscore.com Google’s share of the search engine market currently stands at 69.9% – these figure pertain to the U.S market and not global.
It is no secret that most websites, including meebal.com, display Google advertisements as it remains one of the few ways in which a website, especially the small independents, are able to generate revenue in order to remain operational.
We’ve heard the arguments that users would be willing to pay a subscription fee if a website was to refrain from displaying any types of advertisements, however this avenue of revenue is not sufficiently stable enough; that is it is extremely difficult to retain paid subscription users.
Throughout 2013 many of meebal.com’s readers sent us emails stating that they find meebal.com a refreshing change from the mainstream news media sites; primarily due to the fact that we provide opinions on the news and allow our readers to do the same.
However, many thought that meebal.com would be far more superior if it didn’t display Google or other types of advertising; the consensus was that somehow the advertisements devalued or tainted the content.
In all honesty we at meebal.com don’t like advertisements any more than our readers but in order to remain operational, the bills need paying, and due to our young age it is almost certain that we would not acquire sufficient paid subscribers in order to cover the operational costs – we will explore this possibility in the near future.
The question here is whether Google should be allowed to continue monitoring users in order to gather intelligent data so that it can deliver targeted advertising.
Certainly the now pending court case will determine Google’s future methods, in the UK at least, and if found guilty of breaching privacy laws will certainly experience a downturn in online advertising revenue as advertisers seek out new ways to target potential customers.
We would certain like your views as to whether you find Google advertisements intrusive, both on meebal.com and your other favourite websites. Leave your thoughts on the subject below or write your opinion on the subject – click here.