On March 27, the UK Appellate Court has ruled that Google has violated the UK Data Protection Act, as it deliberately bypassed security settings in the Apple's Safari browser, in a manner that allowed it to place tracking cookies on users' devices in order to track the users' online browsing activity and target them with personalized advertisements. The Court dismissed Google's appeal that the Safari users had not suffered any financial harm, and held it accountable for breach of users' privacy rights.
Google's tracking cookies gathered information on Safari browser users for nine months in between 2011 and 2012, without the users' knowledge or consent; the information stored on the cookies encompassed information of sensitive nature, including browsing habits, ethnicity, sexual interests, religious and political beliefs, and potentially financial data.
This landmark case potentially opens the door to litigation since it encourages UK Safari users to bring legal actions against Google over its alleged privacy violations. Furthermore, this ruling may have significant implications outside the UK and may potentially serve as persuasive authority in other jurisdictions, as the international community continues to implement and interpret consumer protection laws with respect to data privacy.