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Google braced for lawsuits over secret iPhone tracking claims

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By John Glenday | Reporter

January 28, 2013 | 2 min read

Google could be exposed to lawsuits from as many as 10m UK iPhone users following claims that it evaded Apple’s security settings to track user’s web habits.

The privacy scare erupted after claims emerged that Google had circumvented security settings built into its Safari web browser, used by 10m UK iPhone, iPad and Mac owners.

Reports in the guardian suggest that 10 people have already initiated proceedings against the technology giant, including privacy campaigner Judith Vidal-Hall, founder of Index on Censorship, with ‘dozens more’ waiting in the wings.

Their lawyer, Dan Tench of Olswang, told the paper: “This is the first time Google has been threatened with a group claim over privacy in the UK. It is particularly concerning how Google circumvented security settings to snoop on its users. One of the things about Google is that it is so ubiquitous in our lives and if that's its approach then it's quite concerning."

Google has admitted that it knowingly skirted security settings on the software to track users who had expressly blocked such activity in their settings after security researchers at DoubleClick exposed the practice last year.

Compensation amounts have not yet been set but the final bill could be significant given the potential volume of claimants.

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