The £ 3 billion lawsuit against Google, which claims Google has secretly tracked the Internet activity of millions of iPhone users, has been thwarted by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Which one before? Richard Lloyd, director with the support of campaign group Google You Owe Us, wanted to file a “derivative suit” against a tech giant based in the United States on behalf of about 4.4 million people in England and Wales. rice field.
He said Google “illegally abused the data of millions of iPhone users” through “secret tracking and matching” of information about Internet use in the iPhone’s Safari browser, known as “Safari’s workaround.” Insist.
Lloyd and Google You Owe Us wanted to get £ 1 to £ 3 billion in compensation (about £ 750 per person) on suspicion of violating data protection laws.
The High Court initially ruled in October 2018 that Lloyd could not respond to Google’s allegations outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales, but that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeals in October 2019.
However, on Wednesday, a committee of five judges in the Supreme Court granted Google an appeal against the decision.
Sir Legat’s intention to make a leading decision and give affected iPhone users a flat amount without demonstrating financial loss or mental distress is “unsustainable.” Said.
The judge said: “Giving the claim a substantive look is the claim that Google secretly tracked the Internet activity of millions of Apple iPhone users for months and used the data it obtained for commercial purposes.
“But according to the analysis, the claimant is trying to regain the damages in the case of the individual for whom the damages were claimed, without trying to prove that this claim is true.
“If there is no evidence of illegal processing of an individual’s personal data beyond the minimum required to bring them into the definition of the represented class, the claim on behalf of that individual is likely to meet the criteria for damages. is not.”
A Google lawyer said at a hearing in April that a groundbreaking Court of Appeals ruling was filed on behalf of millions of people against a company responsible for processing people’s data. He insisted that he could “open the lock”.
Google You Owe Us and Lloyd claim that Google bypassed the privacy settings of the Apple iPhone handset between August 2011 and February 2012 and used the data it collected to classify people into the advertiser category. Did.
They say that the “browser-generated information” collected by Google includes racial or ethnic origin, physical and mental health, political affiliation or opinion, sexual interest, and social class. Stated.
Google lawyers said there was no suggestion that the so-called Safari workaround resulted in disclosure of information to third parties.
By Sian Harrison