The Google – Safari privacy saga of 2012 has continued into this latest year, with a judge in the United Kingdom ruling privacy activists in the nation can sue the Internet giant over its tracking cookies trickery. This is the latest in a long string of legal spats originating from a privacy violation first reported back in February 2012.
The core of the issue is Google’s sidestepping of privacy settings to track Safari users’ activity, something accomplished with what has long been called an act of trickery. After months of back-and-forth with the FTC, Google stated in July 2012 that it sets “the highest standards of privacy and security for” its users.
Still, by November of the same year, the Internet giant was hit with a $22.5 million fine after a judge gave the thumbs-up on it, the finalization of a settlement reached months before that with the FTC. All this was followed by a lawsuit in the UK, which Google contested under the claim that jurisdiction issues meant English court couldn’t try the matter, but ultimately London’s High Court has ruled (mostly) in the claimants’ favor.
A lawsuit in the UK can proceed over the privacy issues, but any injunctions will need to be done through US court.
Said the judge in part on his decision: “If an American court had to resolve these issues no doubt it could do so, aided by expert evidence on English law. But that would be costly for all parties, and it would be better for all parties that the issues of English law be resolved by an English court, with the usual right of appeal, which would not be available if the issues were resolved by an American court deciding English law as a question of fact.”