Google faces United Kingdom lawsuit over data harvesting

Google could end up owing iPhone users in the UK £200 each

The case being brought against Google by this campaign is what is known as a representative action, similar to a class action; where a group of people all affected by the same thing are represented by a single person's claim.

The group claims that between June 2011 and February 2012, Google collected personal information on iPhones by bypassing the privacy settings on the smartphone's Safari browser.

Partner James Oldnall, who is acting for Mr Lloyd in the legal action, said: "Whilst the total sums made by Google from misusing this data are likely to be large, the damages suffered by each individual are relatively small".

Google then allegedly used the data in its DoubleClick advertising business, which enables advertisers to target content according to a user's browsing habits. The group said each of the 5.4-million customers could get "several hundred pounds" if the case, filed in London on Wednesday, is successful.

Lloyd told Sky News: "My job is to represent everyone that was affected by this breach of trust by Google to make sure that these vast companies have to be held accountable in the British courts".

"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", he continued.

Google You Owe Us explains the claim is subject to the United Kingdom court's timetable and that it could take years before it reaches a conclusion.




According to The Verge, UK law firm Mischon de Reya is also on the case, working alongside the affected group helmed by Lloyd.

When this news came out, Google insisted that this procedure only applied to its Google-Plus. He has secured £15.5m in backing from Therium, a company that funds litigation.

Google You Owe Us said it expects the case to go ahead next year.

In 2012, it was reported Google (among other companies that rely on advertising) used its failed Google+ platform to confuse a security feature in Safari, giving it the ability to track cookies even when a user didn't interact with a website.

In 2013 Google had to pay a $17 million (£10.5m) settlement to 37 USA states to resolve the allegations the company violated consumer privacy by using tracking cookies.

Google already paid a fine of US$22.5 million levied by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its collection practices during that time.

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