Google are at it again. This time they are being challenged by the British – and don’t we just love our privacy here in Blighty!
It is estimated that around 10 million iPhone and iPad users are affected by secret tracking of their internet usage. Olswang, a British firm of lawyers that specialize in media law, are getting ready to bring a class action (about 100 Apple users) against Google for breach of privacy. Alarmingly, Google have been able to bypass the privacy settings on the Apple devices, and track Apple users’ internet movements.
Google, whose reputation is already suffering a battering after the tax scandal, have used their American roots once again as an argument against doing the right thing. Their argument is that since they are California based, the UK law does not apply to them! Apparently they are ignoring the fact that the Google website is .co.uk domained, they have headquarters in London, and their users’ computers are here in Blighty, too. They are also the target of regulation from other European countries. We wait to see how that pans out.
The law can be a powerful weapon, but only when enforcement of the law is something to be feared by the wrong doer. What happens when the wrong doer is so rich that any fines that can be levied are simply water off a duck’s back? The highest fine that the ICO can demand is £500,000. Not chicken feed for mere mortals like the medialawblogger, but for Google it is all in day’s work – or should I say an hour’s work.
Are you happy to let Google track your internet usage?