A Delaware judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Google for secretly storing Safari cookies even when users had opted out.
In a ruling from yesterday, Judge Sue Robinson wrote that the plaintiffs — who had filed suit under a variety of privacy and anti-hacking laws — hadn’t proved real harm under any of them, nor had they convincingly argued that Google had violated their legal rights.
The basic facts of the case aren’t particularly in dispute. In early 2012, researchers discovered that Google and several advertising networks had found an exploit that let them surreptitiously store cookies through the Safari and mobile Safari browsers, regardless of users’ privacy settings. While Google essentially called the process an accident and quickly removed the cookies, it was later found to have a similar system on Internet Explorer. The users in this suit argued that by using cookies to track users across sites without their consent, Google was essentially swindling them out of personal information that would otherwise have monetary value and was infringing on their right to privacy.
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