Google Inc v Vidal-Hall and Others: CA 27 Mar 2015

Damages for breach of Data Protection

The claimants sought damages alleging that Google had, without their consent, collected personal data about them, which was resold to advertisers. They used the Safari Internet browser on Apple products. The tracking and collation of the claimants’ browser generated information was contrary to the defendant’s publicly stated position that such activity could not be conducted for Safari users unless they had expressly allowed it to happen. The defendants denied that the allegation amounted to a tort, and that therefore the court had no jurisdiction, appealing against a refusal to strike out the claim.
Held: Google’s appeal failed, and the action should proceed. The court was not bound by the Court of Appeal’s decision in Hello!. The misuse of private information could work as a tort: ‘Misuse of private information is a civil wrong without any equitable characteristics. We do not need to attempt to define a tort here. But if one puts aside the circumstances of its ‘birth’, there is nothing in the nature of the claim itself to suggest that the more natural classification of it as a tort is wrong.’
Claimants may recover damages under the 1998 Act for a non-material loss.
Sub-section 13(2) of the 1998 Act fails effectively to implement Article 23 of the DP Directive, and has to be disapplied because it is incompatible with the Charter.

Lord Dyson MR, McFarlane, Sharp LJJ
[2015] EWCA Civ 311, [2015] CP Rep 28, [2015] EMLR 15, [2015] 3 WLR 409, [2015] WLR(D) 156, [2015] FSR 25, [2015] 3 CMLR 2, [2016] QB 1003
Bailii, WLRD
Data Protection Act 1998 13(2), Civil Procedure Rules, Directive 95/46/EC
England and Wales
Appeal fromVidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc QBD 16-Jan-2014
The claimants alleged misuse of their private information in collecting information about their internet useage when using Google products. Google now applied for an order setting aside consent for service out of the jurisdiction.
Held: The . .
CitedAK Investment CJSC v Kyrgyz Mobil Tel Ltd and Others PC 10-Mar-2011
Developing Law – Summary Procedures Very Limited
(Isle of Man) (‘Altimo’) The parties were all based in Kyrgyzstan, but the claimant sought a remedy in the Isle of Man which would be unavailable in Kyrgyzstan.
Held: Lord Collins said: ‘The general rule is that it is not normally appropriate . .
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others (No 3) CA 18-May-2005
The principal claimants sold the rights to take photographs of their wedding to a co-claimant magazine (OK). Persons acting on behalf of the defendants took unauthorised photographs which the defendants published. The claimants had retained joint . .
CitedJohnson v The Medical Defence Union CA 28-Mar-2007
The claimant asserted that the 1998 Act created rights between the parties that are in substance though not in form of a contractual nature; and rights to compensation for infringement of those primary rights of a nature that did not previously . .
CitedVTB Capital Plc v Nutritek International Corp and Others CA 20-Jun-2012
The claimant bank said that it had been induced to create very substantial lending facilities by fraudulent misrepresentation by the defendants. They now appealed against findings that England was not clearly or distinctly the appropriate forum for . .
CitedA v B plc and Another (Flitcroft v MGN Ltd) CA 11-Mar-2002
A newspaper company appealed against an order preventing it naming a footballer who, they claimed, had been unfaithful to his wife.
Held: There remains a distinction between the right of privacy which attaches to sexual activities within and . .
CitedWainwright and another v Home Office HL 16-Oct-2003
The claimant and her son sought to visit her other son in Leeds Prison. He was suspected of involvement in drugs, and therefore she was subjected to strip searches. There was no statutory support for the search. The son’s penis had been touched . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
CitedAsh and Another v McKennitt and others CA 14-Dec-2006
The claimant was a celebrated Canadian folk musician. The defendant, a former friend, published a story of their close friendship. The claimant said the relationship had been private, and publication infringed her privacy rights, and she obtained an . .
CitedLord Browne of Madingley v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Apr-2007
The appellant sought to restrict publication by the defendants in the Mail on Sunday of matters which he said were a breach of confidence. He had lied to a court in giving evidence, whilst at the same time being ready to trash the reputation of his . .
CitedTchenguiz and Others v Imerman CA 29-Jul-2010
Anticipating a refusal by H to disclose assets in ancillary relief proceedings, W’s brothers wrongfully accessed H’s computers to gather information. The court was asked whether the rule in Hildebrand remained correct. W appealed against an order . .
CitedMetal und Rohstoff AG v Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette Inc CA 27-Jan-1989
The claimants sued for negligent advice and secured judgment. The defendant company became insolvent, and so the plaintiff now sued the US parent company alleging conspiracy. The court considered a tort of malicious prosecution of a civil claim, . .
CitedKitechnology BV v Unicor GmbH CA 1995
The plaintiffs owned confidential information relating to novel plastic coated pipes; the defendants were German companies and individuals domiciled in Germany, who it was alleged had used the plaintiffs’ confidential information. One issue the . .

Cited by:
AppliedTLT and Others v The Secretary of State for The Home Department and Another QBD 24-Jun-2016
Damages for Publication of Asylum Applicants Data
The claimants had been part of the family returns process, returning failed asylum seekers to their countries of origin. The defendant collected data about the process and published a spreadsheet which was intended to provide an anonymous summary of . .
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Information, Jurisdiction, Human Rights

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.544905