London's High Court today dismissed a class action lawsuit that asked Google to be penalised for bypassing privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser to harvest personal data of up to 5.4 million iPhone users between 2011 and 2012.
The class action lawsuit was filed late last year and was spearheaded by a group called ‘Google You Owe Us’ whose aim was to ensure that Google paid compensation to all affected iPhone users whose privacy was breached as a result of its actions.
"I believe that what Google did was simply against the law. Their actions have affected millions, and we’ll be asking the courts to remedy this major breach of trust. 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 if our laws are broken," said Richard Lloyd, former executive director at consumer group Which?.
"In all my years speaking up for consumers, I’ve rarely seen such as massive abuse of trust where so many people have no way to seek redress on their own. This is … the first case of its kind in the UK against a major tech company for misusing our valuable personal data.
"I want to spread the world about our claim. Google owes all of those affected fairness, trust and money. By joining together, we can show Google that they can’t get away with taking our data without our consent, and that no matter how large and powerful they are, nobody is above the law,' he added.
London High Court dismisses the suit against Google
The class action lawsuit was dismissed by London's High Court today after Google's lawyers contended that there was no way to identify iPhone users who were affected by Google's actions. Supporting Google's assertion, the High Court observed that it was impossible to calculate the number of affected users, to what extent each user had been affected, and that the facts presented did not accurate support claims for damage.
After the class action lawsuit was dismissed, Lloyd termed the judgment as "extremely disappointing" and said that it rendered millions of people without any practical way to seek redress and compensation when their personal data has been misused.
"Google's business model is based on using personal data to target adverts to consumers and they must ask permission before using this data. The court accepted that people did not give permission in this case yet slammed the door shut on holding Google to account," he added.