Google is currently being taken to court in the UK, on the charges of stealing personal data from millions of users in the country.
The mass action lawsuit has been filed by a group called ‘Google You Owe Us’, led by ex-Which? director Richard Lloyd. The allegation is that Google illegally siphoned off information from at least 5.4 million iOS users in the UK by bypassing the privacy settings on their iPhones. Lloyd believes each of the the plaintiffs can get as much as “several hundred pounds each” in compensation.
The complaint it that Google’s website placed ad-tracking cookies on iPhones, through the Safari browser, between 2011 and 2012. This despite the fact that the browser usually blocks cookies by default. Though the loophole was allegedly applied to other iOS devices as well, the lawsuit in question will focus on just iPhones.
“In all my years speaking up for consumers, I’ve rarely seen such a massive abuse of trust where so many people have no way to seek redress on their own, Lloyd told the BBC. “Through this action, we will send a strong message to Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley that we’re not afraid to fight back.”
Lloyd is actually travelling to California to fight the lawsuit on behalf of the affected group, as the UK doesn’t have a judicial precedent for such a massive case, whereas the US does. After all, Google already paid $22.5 million in a similar case brought against it by the US Federal Trade Commission in 2012.
The case is expected to be heard in the High Court mid-2018.