The giant tech company, Google may be forced to pay compensation to over 5 million Brits if the class action lawsuit in the United Kingdom (UK) is successful. A group named “Google You Owe Us,” is taking Google to court, claiming the giant tech company unlawfully collected user’s personal information by bypassing the privacy setting on Apple’s iPhone Safari browser.
In 2012, Facebook, Google and many online advertising networks were caught using a workaround to bypass restrictions, permitting the companies to deposit cookies on the iPhone even if it is set to block them.
While at the time Google claimed its practice was limited to only its failed Google+ initiative, the lawsuit in the UK alleges that Google used workaround to track “internet browsing history, which it then used to sell targeted advertising service.” The tech giant company’s revenues rely mainly on selling targeted ads, therefore obtaining its user’s personal information to sell services and also recommend products.
A consumer expert and a big law firm are taking on Google
Alongside law firm Mischeon de Reya, Richard Lloyd, the former consumer body Which? Director is taking Google to court. Lloyd explains “I believe what Google did was against the law. Their actions have affected millions, and we will be asking courts to remedy this major breach of trust.”
“Through this action, we’ll send a strong message to Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley that we are not afraid to fight back if our laws are broken.”
This case is unique in the UK especially against a giant tech company like Google. While we have seen several class action lawsuits in the US against giant tech companies, we have not seen much of the practice in the UK.
Back in 2012, Google was forced to pay $22.5 million fine for breaching Safari privacy. It was one of the biggest fines administered by the Federal Trade Commission that time. The case will be heard by Britain’s High Court next year, and if the action is successful, then the iPhone users from 2011 to 202 will be able to claim part of the damages.
Google spokesperson says, “This is not new” and it will defend the case. “We’ve defended similar cases in the past. We don’t believe it has any merit and we will contest it.”