Cookies: Google is being sued in the UK because of a workaround in Safari

A campaigning group, called Google You Owe Us, led by Richard Lloyd, is suing Google based on the belief “that Google took millions of iPhone users’ personal information illegally in 2011 and 2012.” The claim has been brought in the Media and Communications List in The High Court of England and Wales, UK. In a statement, published by Mashable, Google said “This is not new — we have defended similar cases before. We don’t believe it has any merit and we will contest it.”

Safari Workaround – Tracking without browser authorization

According to the claim, “the default privacy settings on Safari, Apple’s web browser, meant it did not accept third-party cookies on to your phone. However, Google placed a piece of computer code onto your phone that bypassed Safari’s default privacy settings and set a Google third-party cookie on user iPhones. This allowed Google to track user browsing data when it wouldn’t have otherwise have been able to and, in doing so, collect user personal data without asking permission. This has since become known as the “Safari Workaround”.

Users personal data is how Google makes money. The “Safari Workaround” meant that Google knew which web pages users visited, and how often. Google used this data to sell a service to its advertising network called the “DoubleClick Service”. Using browsing data the DoubleClick Service enables advertisers to target and tailor adverts according to the iPhone user’s preferences.”