A lawsuit filed by millions of U.K. iPhone users alleges that Google bypassed Apple’s privacy settings to collect user data. The “Google You Owe Us” group represents more than 4 million people. This group is asking for a maximum $3.9 billion in damages.
On Wednesday, a London appeals judge ruled that the case can proceed.
Consumer advocate Richard Lloyd is the one who filed the Google You Owe Us lawsuit. On its website, the group explains:
“We believe that between 1 June 2011 and 15 February 2012, Google took millions of iPhone users’ internet browsing data illegally. We believe Google took our data by bypassing default privacy settings on the iPhone Safari browser which existed to protect our data, allowing it to collect browsing data without our consent. This was referred to in court proceedings as ‘the Safari Workaround.'”
The English High Court previously heard a related case. In 2015, three people brought a claim against Google claiming the Safari Workaround had breached their privacy rights. The case was settled on confidential terms. But it raised issues which form the basis of the current trial.
“This case, quite properly if the allegations are proved, seeks to call Google to account for its allegedly wholesale and deliberate misuse of personal data without consent, undertaken with a view to a commercial profit,“ Judge Geoffrey Vos said in a ruling made Wednesday.
Google data collection lawsuit
Speaking after the hearing, Richard Lloyd said that: “Today’s judgment sends a very clear message to Google and other large tech companies: you are not above the law.”
But Google wants the case dismissed. “Protecting the privacy and security of our users has always been our No. 1 priority,” a Google spokesperson told Bloomberg. “This case relates to events that took place nearly a decade ago and that we addressed at the time.”
We’ll keep you updated about what happens from here. This case comes at a time when more and more tech companies are coming under fire. In many instances, this involves alleged misuse of user data.