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Big Brother is Watching You

Have you ever visited a website and the adverts displayed on the page contain images of goods or products which you specifically researched online? If so, then it is possible that your private information has been misused.

The Court of Appeal recently upheld the High Court’s decision that individual residents in the UK could bring claims against the US-based Google Inc., for alleged misuse of private information and alleged breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

The claim focussed on Google installing cookies in Apple Safari’s web browser, which were used to track users’ online behaviour unbeknownst to them. Google then collected the data and sold it to advertisers, who used the information to send targeted online advertising to the individuals. Furthermore, the adverts were made visible for third parties to view on the claimants’ computer screens.

Well, Google was fined $22.5m (£14.2m) in the US in late 2012 for using those same tracking cookies on Safari. Now, the English Courts have followed suit and made the decision to allow claims to be brought by individuals into Courts.

This landmark decision could mean that the Courts might just be opening up the floodgates, as it is estimated that there were 10 million users of Apple products in the UK between summer 2011 and spring 2012, when Google was allegedly covertly monitoring Internet surfers’ browsing habits.

For further information, please contact Dominic Green on 020 7227 7411 or


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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