back to article Appeal court bombshell: Google must face British justice for 'Safari spying'

Apple Safari-using Brits, who claim they were tracked by Google's adbots without permission, can sue Google in the UK, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has ruled. "This is a David and Goliath victory," said Marc Bradshaw, one of three people taking Google, a powerful advertising giant based in Mountain View, California …

  1. Jan 0 Silver badge

    I'm in,

    but how do we arrange to sue Google at low cost to ourselves, given that we're only each going to get a few pence or a couple of quid out of Google?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm in,

      Easy, use instead. In fact, here's my pence for the matter....

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: I'm in,

        No, that doesn't work to get privacy (duck anonymity):

        Any site might have google hosted javascript or analytics or adverts

        Chrome browser


        Official Google supported Android

        Any Google provided service

        (They all may know the previous visited page too)

        much more. They don't need cookies any more.

      2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Duck duck go

        I use Linux and can't find things online due to Google's shaped search turning their engine into a circle jek or as we old Brits used to say a load of wank.

        Duck duck go castrates Google but all I get is a load of eunuchy nocky gnochi.

        Whilst it might help put an end to the endless stream of 60 year old whores on offer, it circumvents my efforts to find news I haven't read weeks ago and hands me back to google for its used condoms when I am trying to research earth science stuff.

        1. phil dude

          Re: Duck duck go

          yes, loads of stuff ranked with naff all relevance apart from "Payers come first".

          Google, don't be evil.

          See icon.


      3. Havin_it

        @MyBackDoor Re: I'm in,

        The post you're replying to asked:

        "[…]how do we arrange to sue Google at low cost to ourselves[…]?"

        I assumed the url you posted several times would be a law firm offering pro bono assistance with class action suits, but it appears to be a search engine itself. I fail to see how that answers the question asked.

        If you're going to TJ just to get high up the page, you could at least try to do it subtly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @MyBackDoor I'm in,

          "If you're going to TJ just to get high up the page, you could at least try to do it subtly."

          Why so serious here? Anyways, the method of which Microsoft lost their un-dueling position wasn't through law suits, but through usage of competitive services and software. That is the best "low cost" solution to getting anything out of Google's pocket, that is to use something else. It's up to you to make it work.

          1. Tom 13

            Re: the method of which Microsoft lost

            I'm pretty sure that while the lawsuit was ineffective from the standpoint of helping Netscape's survival, it was effective in setting them up for more scrutiny and yet more lawsuits, which eventually led to some services and software being kind a sort a competitive. Linux may rule server land, and Apple may rule phone and tablet land, but MS still rules the desktop, and that still includes Office even if it is a version no longer supported by MS.

            Yeah, I'd like some of that to change. I think LibreOffice is a decent product and could replace most of the MS suite (except Outlook). But the fact remains that it hasn't.

    2. Planty Bronze badge

      Re: I'm in,

      Congratulations, this apple shill stunt has taken the focus from them making crap insecure browsers and given someone false hope they they are owned since monetary compensation for losing exactly nothing...


  2. JeffyPoooh

    Kinda blatant...

    Any browser in 'privacy' mode (sic) still shows obviously tailored ads.

    "Honest Mom, I was just looking for cat videos!"

  3. James 51

    Good luck to them. Given the amount of cash and other resources Google is going to throw at them they are going to need it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "asked for a dismissal on the grounds that no one suffered financial harm"

    At the very least it's stealing bandwidth

    1. Planty Bronze badge


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How do you think the cookie got on there? Magic?

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm reminded of the people who sued Google for including their query in the results page URL, which meant that websites they chose from the results could figure their query from the referrer link. "Google revealed our search queries to third-party websites! Breach of privacy!"

    To start such a lawsuit with such meager chances of payout, you really need to be a zealot or have to much time on your hands.

    1. Sarah Balfour

      It IS a breach of privacy…

      …not to mention fucking creepy. It's almost a form of cyberstalking I don't WANT a multibillion dollar multinational looking over my virtual shoulder, breathing down my virtual neck, watching my every virtual move, ta very much!

      Every mail you send

      Every pound you spend

      Every tag you trend

      I'll be watching you

      Oh can't you see…?

      You've sold your soul to me

      Another grand I take

      With every search you make

      There would have been more, but I'm whacked tonight, I can't do that sorta shit when I'm tired… especially not parody. I need the original lyrics in front of me too, to get the metre right. G'night fellow hominids…

      Peace, Love and Bacon


  7. JoshOvki

    Oh so that...

    "...taking Google, a powerful advertising giant based in Mountain View, California, to court in Blighty's capital"

    Oh! So that is who Google is?! Come on El Reg, give us a break.

  8. The_Idiot



    "These claims raise serious issues which merit a trial," the appeal court stated.

    "They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature… about and associated with the claimants' internet use, and the subsequent use of that information for about nine months. The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused."


    Oh, my. Were it only so that the case proceeded, and was found against Google, with this as a principle. That is, by precedent, that this type of action was found to be illegal. After all, who else can we think of who might, just possibly, carry out 'secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature... about and associated with (targets') internet use, and the subsequent use of that information'?

    Oh, I know. It wouldn't stop any such, um, 'agency' - but there would at least be a definition of illegality...

    Yes. I know. I'm not just an Idiot. With apologies to Mr Lennon, I'm probably a dreamer. But perhaps not the only one...

  9. John Savard Silver badge

    Criminal Charges

    There should be criminal charges in U.S. courts under U.S. law, because they were engaging in the unauthorized misuse of people's computers. This should be treated just like other methods of exploiting vulnerabilities in browsers and operating systems.

    When people actually go to jail over something, then the behavior stops - at least among respectable businessmen.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a terrible, deceitful act by Google to circumvent this hilarious setting. You can't trust anyone on the Internet these days.

  11. graeme leggett

    Google have a perfectly valid defence ready

    "rogue engineer"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "This is a David and Goliath victory," said Marc Bradshaw, one of three people taking Google, a powerful advertising giant based in Mountain View, California...

    No! Really? And there I was thinking google were a micky mouse outfit based down the road...

  13. W. Anderson

    finally some justice

    It is hoped that the plaintiffs in UK are successful in obtaining hundreds of millions of pounds in compensations from Google, as this is the "only" type of deterent that large oppressive technology companies like Google, Microsoft and others, even Apple to understand and which is effective in getting them to stand down from illegal, unethical and draconian actions.

  14. HAL-9000


    None story, Google must be truly shitting themselves at the ALMOST hefty fine and compensation they'll have to pay out in the UK should this case go against them. Had this been an American class action suit, then it may be of more significant financial damage.

  15. Sanctimonious Prick

    Google argued unsuccessfully that the UK court system had no jurisdiction in this case,

    Oh, really? But a US judge has jurisdiction pretty much over the whole planet/Internet? And if you really believe that, then pull the other one!

  16. 404

    Hang All the Lawyers

    Make the world a better place... for humans, not corporations.


  17. Velv

    principles or profit?

    Since it's about legal principles and not financial loss then perhaps when they win the plaintiffs will donate all their winnings to UK charities.

    Because let's face it, nobody will have suffered severe financial hardship through googles actions. Totally agree Google should be answerable for those actions and deserves to be fined, but it's about upholding the principles of privacy, not about financial gain for the sake of it (which is what most of the plaintiffs will be).

    I do hope the action group wins the case, it sends a red flag to business not to ignore the law.

  18. Daggerchild Silver badge


    WSJ: "... So Google set up an elaborate system. If the person was logged in to Google+ and had agreed to see the +1 button on ads, the cookie would contain encoded information about that account. If the person wasn’t logged in or hadn’t agreed to see the button, the cookie would still be placed on the computer, but it would be blank."

    Catch: If Safari sees you already have a cookie for a domain, it will automatically let in any other cookies in the same domain. Which domain was it? ""...

  19. crayon

    "Easy, use"

    Unfortunately for most queries google is still the best, bing is a very poor second (although on very rare occasions it returns more relevant results than google). DDG is only useful for the most obvious queries, eg trying to find the url of a particular site/product.

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