Google has claimed that British privacy laws have ‘no jurisdiction’ over its actions, which include tracking browser-users by bypassing privacy settings.
The search-engine giant, which is based in California, has been accused of illegally tracking users on Apple devices. Over 100 Britons are attempting to receive compensation after Google used a legally-grey method to bypass the cookie-blocker of Apple’s Safari, the default browser on iPhones and iPads, so that it could track their browsing history and mine data that it could possibly sell to advertisers.
While Google has already been fined $22.5 million (£14.4 million) for similar actions in America, its lawyers are now claiming that because its services are based in the US, UK law can’t do anything to stop them. Google has previously enraged UK critics by not paying tax.
Google’s lawyers have also claimed that data retrieved from users using its search engine cannot be ‘private or confidential’. The company has suffered numerous privacy violation accusations before, often stemming from the Street View functionality of its Maps service.
While the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK regulator, notified Google of its breaching of UK privacy laws in July, the maximum fine the ICO can impose is £500,000. Despite the ICO’s move, such a sum is hardly a scratch to a company poised to build a $1 billion London headquarters.
Google will attempt to throw the claim that it illegally invaded users’ privacy out of court in October.