Sue us for Safari ad tracking? You'll be lucky, peons, cackles Google

Supreme Court appeal permission could let Chocolate Factory shut the floodgates

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Middlesex Guildhall
Supreme Court: Google has secured permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal's earlier ruling

The UK's Supreme Court has granted Google permission to appeal against a ruling giving Apple Safari users the right to sue the Chocolate Factory over its adbot tracking.

Google had been accused of unfairly circumventing users' privacy settings in Safari, allowing it to follow Safari users around the internet and show them tailored advertising.

The Court of Appeal heard in May that Google had collected private information about users' internet usage via the Apple Safari browser, without the users' knowledge or consent by means of cookies.

This was also contrary to Google's stated position that such activity could not be conducted for Safari users unless they had expressly allowed it to happen.

The court ruled that Apple users who picked up the stealth cookies between summer 2011 and spring 2012 should be allowed to sue the company in the UK.

Google had argued that UK court system had no jurisdiction in this case, and also asked for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that no-one suffered financial harm.

Google applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on grounds of whether the misuse of private information under a tort – a civil wrong for which monetary damages can be awarded – ought to fall under its jurisdiction.

It also appealed the technical grounds of a claim for compensation without pecuniary loss under section 13 of the Data Protection Act 1998, and whether the Court of Appeal was right to disapply that section.

The court ordered that permission to appeal be granted on all grounds. ®

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