The UK Supreme Court has recently given the search engine behemoth Google the right to appeal in the Apple Safari ‘Cookiegate’ case from recent years over the search engine’s adbot tracking system.
Data collection had been occurring for years, with Google accused of ignoring user’s privacy settings to follow Safari users around the web, gathering information about them to show them suitable advertising.
Back in May, the Court of Appeal was told that Google used undisclosed cookies to gather private information about a user’s internet browsing habits when using Apple’s Safari browser – without informing the user that this was occurring. Google has a stated position that this could not happen unless the Safari user gave explicit consent.
The court then ruled that this meant that Apple users who found themselves with these stealth cookies in the summer of 2011 to spring 2012 could now sue Google in the UK.
Google has stated that as there was no one suffering from financial harm the case should be dismissed and has also stated that the UK court system has no jurisdiction. They have applied to the Supreme Court for the right to appeal the verdict, getting the court to examine whether the misuse of private information under a tort – something usually a simple civil wrong with monetary damages awarded to the person bringing the case – can fall under the court’s jurisdiction.
They have also launched an appeal on the technicality of whether a claim for compensation without the other person or company actually recording a loss under section 13 of the Data Protection Act 1998 actually signifies a real loss and whether the court was right to disapply this section.
The right to appeal has been granted on all grounds.