A group of British Apple users have won the right to sue Google over privacy issue. Goggle had bypassed Safari’s privacy settings to install cookies inside the petitioners’ computer to retrieve private information. This was done without the consent or knowledge of the claimants.
The decision comes in the backdrop of a similar case of snooping by Google in America where the tech was fined $40 million by the Federal Trade Commissions. The decision potentially opens floodgates of civil action against Google for breach of Civil rights of millions of Apple users in Britain.
In a landmark ruling, the Court of Appeal upheld a previous High Court decision to permit three users to sue the company in Britain rather than in California, the base of Google. Google failed in a bid to block British Apple users from suing it in Britain for infringing their privacy illegally.
The case highlights increasing concern over the online privacy and protection of personal data in digital age. The court dismissed Goggle’s appeal and the judge noted that “these claims raise serious issues which merit a trial”. The case was deemed fit for trial as it related to allegations of “secret and blanket tracking” of often private nature like social class, race, ethnicity without the users’ knowledge.
The judges claimed that damages could be brought; it however noted that the damages awarded would be “relatively modest”. The claimants have accused the company for illegally obtaining information such as browsing history, hobbies, shopping habits, political and religious beliefs. The claimants also claimed that they “had a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of the information tracked and collated by the defendant.”
The judgment therefore could be the turning point as far as unauthorised snooping of private information by companies like Google. It is yet to be seen whether the case balloons from the current three member claimants to a class action suit in Britain.