updated 02:48 pm EST, Mon December 16, 2013
Search giant argues for California venue
Google is reportedly calling for a UK privacy lawsuit to be dismissed, arguing that the case should be heard in its home state of California, according to a Guardian report. The company has been sued by a group of users who accuse the company of illegally monitoring their online habits by circumventing security settings on the desktop and mobile versions of Apple's Safari browser.
"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," notes co-plaintiff Judith Vidal-Hall. "It is ludicrous for it to claim that, despite all of this very commercial activity, it won't answer to our courts."
The company had bypassed Safari's anti-tracking technology between 2011 and 2012, collecting browsing data that was subsequently used for targeted advertisements. The circumvention was blamed on a mistaken exploitation of a loophole implemented for other cookie-based capabilities, such as social networking login.
A California court dismissed a similar class-action suit filed by US users, refusing to hear the case because the plaintiffs could not prove any actual harm. The company nonetheless agreed to $40 million in settlements with the Federal Trade Commission and various US states.
"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," adds Judith Vidal-Hall.
The UK courts have yet to publicly announce a decision in the case.