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Happy ‘Data Protection Day’ everyone!

For those who may be wondering if April-fool’s has come early this year, yes, the above is an official celebration.

Whilst not quite Christmas, it is a time to spare a thought for the impact the Data Protection Act has had since its implementation some 14 years ago, alongside the Human Rights Act. Legislation controlling our privacy – and interpretation of it by the Court’s – has had an increasing role to play since then, not least with ever expanding use of technology in our day to day lives.

By way of example, three individuals using Apple’s Safari browser (found in I Pads and I Phones) have this month succeeded in an application to the High Court to bring proceedings in the UK against Google for allegedly infringing upon their privacy rights.

The claimant’s suggest that Google used an exception in Apple’s default privacy settings which blocks cookies from third parties, and in doing so collected information about their browsing habits without the users consent to provide them with targeted advertising (essentially advertising tailored their search content).

The proceedings will of course be of interest generally given the amount of us who use Google’s services and smart phones. However, the High Court was, at this stage, only asked to determine preliminary issues for the purpose of deciding whether the individuals could bring the UK proceedings and ‘serve’ them on Californian-based Google. Nevertheless, in doing so the Judge made some potentially novel observations in relation to laws surrounding misuse of personal information, and what may constitute ‘personal data’ for the purpose of the Data Protection Act, both of which will be watched with interest by data protection lawyers and privacy campaigners.

So if you see a ‘cookies’ notice pop up when surfing your favourite website today, remember to celebrate Data Protection Day!

 

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