Safari users in the UK are now free to sue Google for ignoring their Safari browser settings and continuing to drop cookies on their devices, even when their browser settings said not to.
It was revealed in 2012 that Google bypassed the setting in Safari which instructed sites not to drop cookies, enabling it to deliver personalized ads. The FTC in the US fined the company $22.5M for the practice, with millions more in additional fines levied by 38 US states. There was no government action in the UK, but a group of British iPhone users took Google to court, seeking compensation for breaching their privacy.
In attempting to have the case dismissed, Google argued there was no case, as the plaintiffs hadn’t suffered any financial harm. The UK’s Court of Appeal rejected this argument, allowing the case to go forward.
The BBC reports the court expressed concern over “… what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature… about and associated with the claimants’ internet use, and the subsequent use of that information for about nine months.”
Anyone in the UK who used Safari on a Mac, iPad or iPhone between summer 2011 and spring 2012 is now eligible to sue Google for compensation.