UK Apple users sue Google over alleged Safari tracking

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A group of 12 Apple device users has brought a lawsuit against Google in the U.K., claiming that the search giant violated their privacy by tracking them and secretly logging their browsing habits.

The plaintiffs, according to The Telegraph, say that Google installed tracking cookies on Apple's Safari browser on their computers and mobile devices between summer 2011 and spring 2012. The search giant, they allege, did so after they had explicitly indicated that they did not wish to have their browsing habits tracked.

Google Safari tracking
Google's Safari tracking, explained in this diagram from The Wall Street Journal has come under fire again.


Google, the complaint says, assured users that their habits would not be tracked. The users also state that Safari's default settings should have prevented the tracking.

Early in 2012, reports emerged that Google was circumventing the privacy settings in desktop and iOS Safari browsers to better track their web browsing history. Google "added coding to some of its ads that made Safari think that a person was submitting an invisible form to Google," according to a report at the time. Safari would then allow Google to install a cookie on the user's phone or computer.

Google, responding to the controversy, said it was only using the feature for "signed-in users on Safari who had opted to see personalized ads and other content."

The Federal Trade Commission in August hit Google with the largest fine it had assessed in its history, fining the company $22.5 million for ignoring Safari's security settings. Google agreed to the payment on the condition that it could deny "the substantive allegations in the Commission's civil penalty complaint."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29


    Too bad this was already resolved with Google not admitting anything but paying it off anyway. 

     


    But hey, maybe if the EU takes hold of this they'll actually do something to prevent it permanently.

  • Reply 2 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Too bad this was already resolved with Google not admitting anything but paying it off anyway. 

     


    But hey, maybe if the EU takes hold of this they'll actually do something to prevent it permanently.



     


    Too bad the FTC has no spine to deal with repeat offenders like Google with more than a slap on the wrist.

  • Reply 3 of 29


    Google, the complaint says, assured users that their habits would not be tracked.


     


    See, listening to Google was the first mistake.

  • Reply 4 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    See, listening to Google was the first mistake.



     


    That's why they can't be trusted when they tell you your data is safe with them. Their "privacy policy" isn't worth the bandwith required to transmit it.

  • Reply 5 of 29
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    Someone needs to whack them, good hard and fast.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    I use DuckDuckGo.com as much as possible for searching.
    They claim they don't track or "filter bubble" you (tailor your results according to past searches.)
    And there's almost no spam. And you can contribute to the project at
    DuckDuckHack.com.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    First of all, this is the UK, the land of public CCTV and George Orwell. I can't believe the UK courts would side with Apple and Safari users who expect such pre-9/11 notions such as "privacy." /s
  • Reply 8 of 29


    Originally Posted by RobM View Post

    Someone needs to whack them, good hard and fast.


     


    Eh, they'd probably enjoy it. They need to have something primary about their business made illegal. That's better than any fine.

  • Reply 9 of 29
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,521member
    What this thread needs is a tag team of google defenders.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by quinney View Post



    What this thread needs is a tag team of google defenders.


    Tag-team for what? That it didn't happen? It did. 

  • Reply 11 of 29
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    TS, Yea - you're right. They probably would.
    That was what I so ineloquently meant. A legal authority needs to spell it out loud and clear to those cowboys - who really are running roughshod over people's privacy and making huge money from doing so.

    In any other situation they'd have been hung out to dry a long time ago.
    The thing that gets me about it is - that advertisers actually believe all the web stats, and keep on paying the big G. Unreal.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,521member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    quinney wrote: »
    What this thread needs is a tag team of google defenders.
    Tag-team for what? That it didn't happen? It did. 

    Of course it did, but it's not like you to shrink from the challenge. Better tag out.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Too bad this was already resolved with Google not admitting anything but paying it off anyway. 

     


    But hey, maybe if the EU takes hold of this they'll actually do something to prevent it permanently.





    That would be nice, but I doubt it will happen.

  • Reply 14 of 29
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by quinney View Post





    Of course it did, but it's not like you to shrink from the challenge. Better tag out.


    What challenge? I'd have to believe they weren't in the wrong.

  • Reply 15 of 29
    sockrolid wrote: »
    I use DuckDuckGo.com as much as possible for searching.
    They claim they don't track or "filter bubble" you (tailor your results according to past searches.)
    And there's almost no spam. And you can contribute to the project at
    DuckDuckHack.com.

    Okay, I've been using it, but several times now I noticed the search bar said something like http://secure.google.com, war does that mean? Do they use google as their engine?

    I just tried it again and I isn't doing that at all. ??

    Anybody know why there might be a lot of military brass all over gOogle hqtrs? Heard it third hand...
  • Reply 16 of 29

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post



    I use DuckDuckGo.com as much as possible for searching.

    They claim they don't track or "filter bubble" you (tailor your results according to past searches.)

    And there's almost no spam. And you can contribute to the project at

    DuckDuckHack.com.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by palomine View Post





    Okay, I've been using it, but several times now I noticed the search bar said something like http://secure.google.com, war does that mean? Do they use google as their engine?



    I just tried it again and I isn't doing that at all. ??



    Anybody know why there might be a lot of military brass all over gOogle hqtrs? Heard it third hand...


     


    I use Startpage. It uses Google for the search engine but keeps the searcher anonymous.


     


    https://startpage.com


     


    This is the info that comes up when you click the "details" link regarding them using Google as the search engine:


     


     


    Startpage offers you Web search results from Google in complete privacy!


    When you search with Startpage, we remove all identifying information from your query and submit it anonymously to Google ourselves. We get the results and return them to you in total privacy.


    Your IP address is never recorded, your visit is not logged, and no tracking cookies are placed on your browser. When it comes to protecting your privacy, Startpage runs the tightest ship on the Internet. Our outstanding privacy policy and thoughtful engineering give you great search results in total anonymity. Here are some of our key features:



    • Free proxy surfing available.


    • Praised by privacy experts worldwide.


    • Twelve-year company track record.


    • Third-party certified.




    • No IP address recorded.


    • No record is made of your searches.


    • No identifying or tracking cookies used.


    • Powerful SSL encryption available.


    To learn more, check out our privacy page and read our privacy policy. We're confident you'll like what you see.

  • Reply 17 of 29
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,563member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    What challenge? I'd have to believe they weren't in the wrong.



     


    So, at least GG admits that Google can't be trusted.

  • Reply 18 of 29
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RobM View Post



    Someone needs to whack them, good hard and fast.


     


    This is an unfortunate phrase.  


     


    It sounds far more like you want to jerk them all off than you want to punish them.  

  • Reply 19 of 29
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    See, listening to Google was the first mistake.



     


    Google are a bunch of poopy-heads lately.  


     


    They even started blocking News searches on my phone because I won't give them my location data.  It's probably a bug due to their need/want to localise the results, but still.  Maybe I want to search the news without localising the results.  If Google still wants to be the defacto standard they shouldn't be blocking services simply because you don't want to give them the data they want.  


     


    The real problem is that there isn't an alternative.  I have hopes Melissa Meyer can do something with "Yahoo!" (hate that name), but the odds are against her. 

  • Reply 20 of 29
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member


    A tad off-topic but a report today pegged American Express as the most trusted company in America when it comes to privacy. Hewlett-Packard and Amazonimagecame in at 2 and 3 respectively. Google's not on the list. Neither is Apple.


     


    The only internet company in the top 20 was Mozilla


    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/1/prweb10363796.htm

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