Millions of Apple Safari users in Britain have been given the green light to sue Google amidst proven allegations that the search giant implemented a workaround to bypass Safari security and install tracking cookies on both desktop and iOS versions of Apple’s web browser.
Why? Because over 90% of Google’s ad revenue comes from advertising and they wanted to deliver higher-cost targeted advertising to OS X and iOS users.
Google’s actions in this regard date back to late 2011 and were subsequently discovered in 2012. Once Google’s behavior was brought to light, they were punished by the FTC to the tune of $22.5 million. What’s more, they also doled out about $18 million in fines to individual U.S. states.
As for the recent British ruling, Google maintained that giving consumers the right to sue was wholly unnecessary because users ultimately suffered no financial harm.
Nonetheless, the British Court of Appeals thought otherwise, ruling in part:
Google, a company that makes billions from advertising knowledge, claims that it was unaware that was secretly tracking Apple users for a period of nine months and had argued that no harm was done because the matter was trivial as consumers had not lost out financially.
The Court of Appeal saw these arguments for what they are: a breach of consumers’ civil rights and actionable before the English courts. We look forward to holding Google to account for its actions.
While Google continues to make money hand over first, their entire business model is somewhat fascinating. Again, the bulk of their revenue is derived from advertising, something consumers on the web would just as easily ignore or completely turn off if given the choice.