Google, which was fined $22.5M by the FTC for illegal use of tracking cookies on iPhones even when the user had set Safari to reject them, is asking the UK’s High Court to reject a claim for compensation from a group of British iPhone owners, reports The Guardian.
Google is arguing that any case should be held in the U.S., and that UK courts have no jurisdiction in the matter. It also observes that a similar claim in the USA was dismissed two months ago.
Google has been called “arrogant and immoral” for arguing that a privacy claim brought by internet users in the UK should not be heard by the British legal system [...]
In the first group claim brought against Google in the UK, the internet firm has insisted that the lawsuit must be brought in California, where it is based, instead of a British courtroom …
Lawyers for the claimants argue that the company has violated UK law, and that the case should therefore be heard by UK courts.
“British users have a right to privacy protected by English and European laws,” said Dan Tench, a solicitor from the law firm Olswang, which represents the claimants.
“Google may weave complex legal arguments about why the case should not be heard here, but they have a legal and moral duty to users on this side of the Atlantic not to abuse their wishes. Google must be held to account here, even though it would prefer to ignore England.”
While the case itself seems unlikely to succeed in any case – it being difficult to prove that harm was done to individuals – it is likely to lead to renewed debate about the legality and morality of companies doing business in one country while claiming to be legally resident elsewhere.
The British government queried back in May the accuracy of Google’s responses to questions about its tax status after the company paid just £6M ($9.7M) UK tax on a turnover of £395M ($644M).