Google has been granted the right to appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling from March which said that the company should face a legal challenge for tracking user data from Apple’s Safari browser without permission.
The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Google could challenge the ruling over the interpretation used by the Court of Appeal to decide whether the claimants in the case could bring an appeal under the Data Protection Act (DPA).
“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,” it said.
Google welcomed the outcome, saying: “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to consider key issues in this complex case."
V3 contacted the claimants for comment on the decision but had received no reply at the time of publication.
Google had brought the appeal on three grounds. One related to whether the case should be heard as a tort - a civil case where financial penalties can be levied - and two related to the interpretation of the DPA over whether compensation could be awarded when data is not lost.
The Supreme Court rejected the tort argument but upheld the challenges relating to the interpretation of the DPA.
"The Court ordered that permission to appeal be refused on ground one (whether the claim is in tort) because this ground does not raise an arguable point of law. The Court ordered that permission to appeal be granted on all other grounds,” the ruling said.
The decision is likely to be a blow to the claimants in the case, who had heralded the initial Court of Appeal decision as a “David and Goliath victory".
“The Court of Appeal has ensured that Google cannot use its vast resources to evade English justice,” said lead claimant Judith Vidal-Hall at the time.
“Ordinary computer users like me will now have the right to hold this giant to account before the courts for its unacceptable, immoral and unjust actions.”
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