Local consumer activists back privacy case against Google
Posted Monday, January 28 2013 at 02:00
The search engine is accused of sending messages on computers to provide user-targeted advertising, which breaches privacy.
Local consumer activists are backing a group of internet users in United Kingdom, who have lodged a case against Google, a search engine, for allegedly undermining the security settings on Apple’s Safari browser to track online usage secretly.
Mr Shaban Sserunkuma, an activist, said Uganda being part of Google had no choice but to support any move that will see the service providers guard all rights, act responsibly and know their frontiers and limits.
“Since their action hurts the common good, we must get involved,” Mr Sserunkuma said.
In another interview, Mr Henry Richard Kimera, the chief executive officer of Consumer Education, said: “Even though we get most of these services free of charge, it does not mean that we (consumers) have traded off our privacy and respect.”
He added: “Our position has always been and will remain to protect consumers against messages and ads they do not want.”
The support comes on heels of the first case of its kind in the UK, where a number of people with issues regarding Google’s behaviour have decided to take legal action and have established Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking, a campaign group.
According to PRN news wire, the consumers have since instructed the law firm, Olswang, to coordinate the claims and are marking Data Privacy Day by launching a Facebook page to provide information to other people who might have been affected.
The wire service attributes the consumers’ claims around tracking cookies (short lines of text on a website), which had been secretly installed by Google on the computers and mobile devices of people using Apple’s Safari internet browser.
The first claimant to issue proceedings according to Olswang press release, the 74-year-old Judith Vidal-Hall said: “Google claims it does not collect personal data but does not say who decides what information is ‘personal’. Whether something is private or not should be up to the internet surfer, not Google.”
However, the search engine dismissed the lawsuit this week, stating the plaintiffs’ claims “lack standing,” mainly because they suffered no demonstrable injury over the ads, adding that they had never obtained anyone’s personal information via the tracking.