incrediBILL - 7:50 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)
Google does have a UK office, so some of what Google does clearly falls under UK jurisdiction
Exactly the problem with big holding companies with multiple corporations under their umbrella because people don't understand that having a presence in a country doesn't mean that all of the company operations are suddenly covered by that country's law.
I'm of the opinion in for a dime, in for a dollar which is "in for a penny, in for a pound" for the rest of you ;)
The problem IMO is when a company operates under the same name across the board. If it was only known as "Google UK" and not just "Google" then I'd say they were doing it right if everything clearly identified itself by registered jurisdiction but it doesn't and that generic "Google" is probably what will get them into trouble despite the way the corporations are registered because the consumer can't tell the difference.
If the judge knew more about AdWords and AdSense and how it all worked I think Google would have a weaker case because they're selling ads in the UK, have certified AdWords partners in the UK, and websites displaying those AdWords ads aka AdSense. Sure sounds like they're doing business directly in the UK to me.
FWIW, I'm not flip-flopping my opinion It's just that I can see both sides of the issue and I'm not sure yet which side has the strongest cas. In this instance while I think Google is in the right by the letter of the law, I don't think their actions follow the spirit of the law and that could be their downfall IMO.
At least that's how I'd rule if I were a judge. :)
As an AdSense webmaster, I think the whole thing will be a big disaster if the UK manages to strong arm (bully) Google into following their law. All of our sites will start doing crazy things like asking about cookie permissions for UK visitors and only UK people will see this nonsense so the rest of us won't even know how it impacts our sites or how to deal with it.
It will suck.