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Google's Answer To British Lawsuit: Your Privacy Laws Don't Touch Us

The practice was only stopped when a law student and security researcher noticed Google’s activity and published an exposé in the United States.  Google paid a record $22.5million settlement to the US Federal Trade Commission to settle charges.

Marc Bradshaw, another claimant, believes this latest development is just another ruse by Google to avoid responsibility for its actions:

“It seems to us absurd to suggest that consumers can’t bring a claim against a company which is operating in the UK and is even constructing a $1 billion headquarters in London. 

“If consumers can’t bring a civil claim against a company in a country where it operates, the only way of ensuring it behaves is by having a robust regulator.

“But the UK regulator, the Information Commissioner's Office, has said to me that all it can do is fine Google if it breaks the law, but Google clearly doesn’t think that it is bound by that law.  Fines would be useless – even if Google agreed to pay them - because Google earns more than the maximum fine in less than two hours.  With no restraint Google is free to continue to invade our privacy whether we like it or not.”

Mr Bradshaw wrote to the Information Commissioner asking him to impose “effective sanctions to rein in Google” and to ensure it complies with the law. The internet giant is pooling data from all of its products giving it a comprehensive record of each internet user’s preferences.

Dan Tench, a partner at Olswang, the law firm acting for the claimants, said:

“Our letter to the Information Commissioner conveyed our client’s position that fines won’t work and urged him to change Google’s behaviour through an enforcement notice or other alternative sanctions. The response was that they found our client’s position simplistic and difficult to implement. But a leading QC disagrees and has advised that the Information Commissioner does have stronger powers. We note that France’s regulator, CNIL, has been more robust, announcing a final ultimatum to Google to ensure quickly that its privacy policy complies with European law.  Our regulator should listen to consumers and recognise that other sanctions are needed to get Google to behave.”

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