THE winner of a News business award is taking on Google in court over illicit tracking of web browsing.
Marc Bradshaw, of BEA Solutions, has joined more than 100 other people who are suing the internet search engine giant over privacy breaches.
Mr Bradshaw, 27, from Waterlooville, believes Google’s admission that tracking cookies were installed on the computers and mobile devices of people using Apple’s Safari internet browser, even when they had expressly chosen to block them, is illegal.
A cookie is a piece of data installed on your computer when you visit a website that stores data about your computer use.
But in the latest round of the legal battle Google says it will contest the right of Safari users in the UK to bring a case in this country and it will only respond to action taken in California, where the company is based.
Mr Bradshaw, who won the News Local Business Accelerators campaign, said: ‘I run a small technology specialist and I’m interested in privacy issues.
‘I saw this issue come to light about 18 months ago and I saw on a privacy website that a law firm in London wanted to bring this action in the UK. They were appealing for people to become part of the action.
‘It’s been going on since December last year and it’s taken until now for things to reach a head. This is the first time Google has done anything and they seem to be a law unto themselves.
‘Because they are a pioneer of a lot of technology they seem to think the law does not apply to them.
‘But in the UK we have a thing called the Data Protection Act and the Computer Misuse Act. And they don’t seem to be taking any notice.’
Mr Bradshaw, whose business is based at the Brambles Enterprise Centre, Waterlooville, is one of three lead claimants in the action but it represents about 100 individuals.
He is not paying for legal representation as it is being funded by an anonymous privacy campaign group.
When approached by The Guardian newspaper Google said it would not comment on legal action.
The case should be going before a court in the UK in October.