Forget me? Not.

The Court of Appeal in London recently considered the use of Third-Party Cookies placed on a user’s device to identify and track internet activity.  

Google used their ‘DoubleClick Ad cookie’ through Apple’s Safari browser. Google were able to bypass the default settings on the browser to place their cookie without the users’ knowledge or consent. This enabled them to target advertisements based on the users browsing habits.

The innovative class-action, led by former Which? Director, Richard Lloyd, on behalf of more than 4 million iPhone users, seeks a uniform amount of damages without seeking to prove actual damage for each individual.

As a preliminary point, permission is required to serve proceedings outside of the jurisdiction on Google in the USA. This was refused by the High Court in October 2018.  The Court of Appeal has now overturned this decision with Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, describing it as a claim:

…to call Google to account for its allegedly wholesale and deliberate misuse of personal data without consent, undertaken with a view to commercial profit.

The case will now proceed to trial. If successful, a suggested tariff of £750 per user could place Google’s potential liability in £billions.  

That said, given these high stakes, it seems unlikely that this will be the end of the matter.  Although the Court of Appeal refused permission to appeal the point, it seems likely that Google will seek to petition the Supreme Court directly.

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Lloyd v Google LLC [2019] EWCA Civ 1599

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