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The authors of these posts are all members of the Google Governance Campaign Steering Committee.

French Regulator Shows the Way for the UK

The French privacy Regulator, CNIL, has sent a clear message to its UK counterpart, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), that Google can be held to account for privacy breaches.  It fined the company €150k over its unified privacy policy, which it believes breaches European privacy laws.

To date, the ICO has taken no action against […]

By |January 9th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Tough week for Google

Not only did Google have to try to persuade the English High Court that British consumers shouldn’t be able to sue it here, but it faced a number of other difficulties.  Here’s our weekly roundup.

Spanish data protection authority’s privacy sanctions imposed on Google: according to the Wall Street Journal, “The Spanish Agency for Data Protection […]

By |December 20th, 2013|Privacy|0 Comments|

Hodge wants HMRC to get stuck into Google

Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the influential House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, wants our tax officials to clamp down on Google.

She says that Britain has an official tax gap of £350bn excluding the amount owed by Google, Amazon and Starbucks .  Google says it abides by the law but tax officials have confirmed […]

By |December 19th, 2013|Tax|0 Comments|

News Release 16.12.13 – Google must answer to British Justice, say UK privacy claimants

The fight to ensure Google cannot evade British justice goes before the English High Court on Monday, when a group of British internet users take action against the internet giant.  The claimants argue that Google breached their privacy in England and should be held to account here too.
 
In their claim, filed in London, the group of claimants, known as Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking, have accused Google of bypassing security settings on the Safari internet browser in order to track their online browsing and to target them with personalised advertisements.  But Google has said that the claim should have been brought in the United States, where it is based, and will argue against it being heard in England at a jurisdiction hearing on Monday.
 
Judith Vidal-Hall, one of the claimants argues that Google should answer to British justice. “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.  It is ludicrous for it to claim that, despite all of this very commercial activity, it won’t answer to our courts.   If consumers are based in the UK and English laws are abused, the perpetrator must be held to account here, not in a jurisdiction that might suit them better.  Google’s preference that British consumers should travel all the way to California to seek redress for its wrongdoings is arrogant, immoral and a disgrace.  We will fight this attempt to dismiss the case robustly.”
 
Google was sued for the same privacy breach in the United States in August last year, and had to pay a fine of $22.5 million to the US Federal Trade Commission for violating its order that the company would not misrepresent “the extent to which consumers can exercise control over the collection of their information.”  Google did not admit to wrongdoing in the FTC case, but said the tracking was accidental.  Despite this, the Attorney General of New York announced last month that the company had agreed to pay $17 million to settle charges that it secretly tracked some consumers’ activities on the Web, even after promising such tracking had been blocked.
 
Across Europe, data regulators are considering steps to reign in Google’s continued gathering and use of private data, but so far Google has not be held to account in Europe for its breach of users’ privacy.   Olswang’s Dan Tench represents the claimants:
 
“British users have a right to privacy protected by English and European laws.  Google may weave complex legal arguments about why the case should not be heard here, but it has a legal and moral duty to users on this side of the Atlantic not to abuse their wishes.  Google must be held to account here, even though it would prefer to ignore England.”
 
The case is listed at Court 14 of the High Court on Monday, December 16, at 10.30 am.
 
Photo call:
Campaigners from the Google Governance Campaign group will be outside the High Court, London, at 09.30 on Monday handing out cookies and calling on Google to “let its tracking cookies crumble’.
 
Notes to Editors
The Google Governance Campaign has been set up by campaigners associated with the Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking group.  Its mission is to campaign for better corporate behaviour by Google in the UK, respecting Britons’ right to privacy and Britain’s right to taxation on any profits generated in the country. 
 
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By |December 16th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Safari Claimants’ Day In UK High Court

Google is appearing before the English High Court this morning to argue that a privacy action brought by British claimants should not be heard in the UK.   It follows an alleged breach of the privacy of people using Apple’s  Safari internet browser who had clicked to “private browse”.  The matter has already been […]

By |December 16th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The case against Google

On Monday, in a room at the High Court, a judge will consider whether Google should answer to British justice or whether it can only answer to Californian courts, as it argues.  This is what it’s all about.

Google has faced massive fines for breaching the privacy of internet users surfing on Apple’s Safari browser. […]

By |December 11th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Our Mission

The Google Governance Campaign was established in December 2013 to campaign for better corporate behaviour by Google in the UK.We are not anti-Google.  We use Google.  We like many aspects of its service.   But we do not like two key aspects of its activities:1. PrivacyPeople in Britain have a right to privacy.  We […]

By |December 11th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments|