Google sued for £3.2bn for tracking iPhone data
Google is being sued for £3.2 billion after consumer campaign group Google You Owe Us alleged it tracked the personal data of 4.4 million iPhones.
The search giant is being taken to the UK’s high court by a collective action led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd.
The group says Google bypassed the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser on iPhones. According to The Guardian, the tracking took palce between August 2011 and February 2012 and was used to delve deeper into personal data for advertisers.
The hearing opened on Monday with a list of the information Google is said to have collected, which range of areas from race to physical and mental health and politics, sexuality, financial and location.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Lloyd, said Google has already paid $39.5m to settle claims on the issue in the US when in 2012 it was fined $22.5m by the US Federal Trade Commission and paid $17m to 37 US states.
Speaking ahead of the hearing, Lloyd said: “I believe that what Google did was quite simply against the law.
“Their actions have affected millions in England and Wales and we’ll be asking the judge to ensure they are held to account in our courts.”
If successful the group could win claimants a total £1bn split between the 4.4m affected users, but could seek up to £3.2bn which would mean £750 per person.
Google’s lawyers have countered the claims, saying there’s no suggestion any information was passed on to third parties following the workaround.
Anthony White QC, for Google, said: “The court should not permit a single person to co-opt the data protection rights of millions of individuals for the purpose of advancing a personal ‘campaign’ agenda and should not allow them to place the onus on individuals who do not wish to be associated with that campaign to take positive steps to actively disassociate themselves from it.”
Tom Price, communications director for Google UK, said: “The privacy and security of our users is extremely important to us. This case relates to events that took place over six years ago and that we addressed at the time.
“We believe it has no merit and should be dismissed. We’ve filed evidence in support of that view and look forward to making our case in court.”