Google Given Right to Appeal in Safari Cookies Case

Google has been given the right to appeal in the U.K. against a ruling in a legal case that boils back down to the infamous Safari ‘Cookiegate’ incidents of the early 2010s.

The problem was the collection of data and the implications of that collection in relation to the U.K. Data Protection Act (DPA). So far, debate about this has kept the courts ready for almost four years.

The Court of Appeal said in May that three U.K. citizens could sue Google over cookie privacy violations, which was mooted as being a potential legal epiphany, and it was suggested that Google would appeal against the ruling.

Lo, and Google did appeal. And in time so did the U.K. Supreme Court, which gave the search company the right to make its stand about the case (Google Inc (Appellant) v Vidal-Hall and others) to a higher power in an advisory note released today.

“The Supreme Court has granted permission in part for Google to appeal the Court of Appeal of England and Wales decision in a case relating to a dispute over the user information through cookies via use of the Apple Safari browser,” the court said, to Google’s delight.

The search firm said in response: “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to consider key issues in this complex case.”

Michael Gardner, a partner and head of the intellectual property team at law firm Wedlake Bell, commented on the case to SEW’s sister publication, The INQUIRER, in May. Today he said that he is not surprised at the advance, and that he expects some interesting results from any incoming cases.

“As expected Google has sought to take the matter all the way to the U.K.’s highest domestic court,” he said.

“The refusal to allow permission to appeal is significant because it means that irrespective of what happens now, the claimants will be able to pursue their case against Google in the English court.

“But the appeal will determine the very important question of whether it is possible in principle to claim compensation under the DPA without showing actual financial harm.

“That could greatly widen the scope for damages claims by disgruntled individuals based on breaches of the DPA.” 

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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