Google says it is not answerable in the UK in Safari cookies privacy suit

The company says plaintiffs should sue in California

Google has told British consumers in a privacy claim that it does not have to answer to English courts and U.K. privacy laws don't apply to it, according to the law firm for the plaintiffs.

Legal documents filed by the Internet company show that Google will contest the right of Safari users in the U.K. to bring a case in the country where they live and use Google's service, the law firm Olswang said in a statement on Sunday.

The Internet company refused to accept service of the lawsuit in the U.K., instead forcing the plaintiffs to serve the company in California, the law firm added.

The lawsuit is still in early days, and Google is expected to argue that its customer-facing services in the U.K. are provided out of the U.S.

A group of Internet users in the U.K. said in January they were seeking damages, disclosure and an apology from Google for its alleged undermining of the security settings on Apple's Safari browser to track online usage covertly.

Olswang initiated the legal action on the behalf of three claimants backed by a campaign called "Safari Users Against Google's Secret Tracking."

It followed an announcement in August last year by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that Google agreed to pay a US$22.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that it misrepresented to users of Safari that it would not place tracking cookies or serve targeted ads to those users, violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC.

The FTC alleged that Google placed advertising tracking cookies on consumers' computers, in many cases by circumventing Safari's default cookie-blocking setting. Google denied any wrongdoing.

The filing by Google is not public. Google did not comment.

"It seems to us absurd to suggest that consumers can't bring a claim against a company which is operating in the U.K. and is even constructing a $1 billion headquarters in London," Marc Bradshaw, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in the statement.

"I argued just over a year ago that Google should be forced to answer to the courts in the jurisdiction where a complaint is filed especially if they have an office there and that it is a mockery of our judicial system if they are permitted to evade judicial process by hiding behind a parent company in California," said privacy advocate Alexander Hanff in a blog post on Sunday.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlesecuritylegalprivacy

More about AppleFederal Trade CommissionFTCGoogle

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John Ribeiro

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place