Computer users in Missouri and Illinois have sued Google over the search giant's placement of online ad cookies in Apple's Safari Web browser. The move circumvented Apple's privacy protection for Safari.
(NASDAQ:GOOG) has been sued by computer users who claimed their privacy rights
were violated when the search giant sidestepped control settings intended to
protect users of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Safari Web browser from being tracked
for Safari user Matthew Soble said in a complaint filed in Delaware federal
court that "Google's willful and knowing actions violated" federal
wiretapping laws and related citizen privacy statutes, according to Bloomberg
wants class-action status for his lawsuit, inviting other Safari users who
believe Google infringed upon their privacy rights. Meanwhile, Brian Martorana
of Missouri also sued Google for violating the Wiretap Act and asked for
damages on behalf of 62 million users, according to PaidContent
declined to comment on the lawsuits.
and a few other advertising companies have secretly tracked the Web-surfing
habits of millions of people using the Safari browser on Apple's Mac computers,
iPhones and iPad tablets, according to Stanford
University graduate student Jonathan Mayer
is designed to prevent such monitoring to preserve user privacy, but Google and
others tricked the browser into allowing the tracking via advertising cookies.
which called the tracking inadvertent and denied collecting personal
information on users, said it merely leveraged existing Safari functionality to
enable the +1 button to work for signed-in Google+ users on Safari.
move, viewed both as an infringement of user privacy and continuing
brinksmanship with rival Apple
, drew attention from Congress, which urged
the Federal Trade Commission
to look into the matter.
Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Cliff Sterns (R-Fla.) have
asked the FTC if this browser issue violates Google's consent agreement not to
misrepresent how and why it collects user information.
consent agreement stemmed from Google's infringement of user privacy in its
now-defunct Buzz social conversation service. Google could incur fines of
$16,000 per violation per day if it is found to have violated the consent
members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we are interested in
any actions the FTC has taken or plans to take to investigate whether Google
has violated the terms of its consent agreement," wrote
Reps. Markey, Barton and Stearns to the FTC
FTC has yet to weigh in on the matter.