Google sued over 4.4 million UK iPhone users’ data snooping
A group behind the campaign ‘Google You Owe Us’ sued Google in the High Court for £3.2bn over the alleged unlawfully collected personal information from 4.4 million users, by bypassing privacy settings on Apple’s iPhone Safari browser, also known as ‘Safari Workaround’. In 2012, Google, Facebook, and few other online advertising networks were caught circumventing restrictions, which allowed companies to deposit cookies on an iPhone even when a device was set to block them. The collective action is led by Richard Lloyd, the former director of the UK Consumers’ Association called ’Which?’. The media reports, lawyers for the ‘Google You Owe Us’ group stated at the two-day hearing that the information collected by Google included race, physical and mental health, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financials, shopping habits, and location data. Google claims the ‘representative action’ being brought against it to be unsuitable, while saying ‘there is no suggestion the Safari Workaround resulted in any information being disclosed to third parties’, and it is not possible to identify those who may have been affected and the claim has no prospect of success’. The ‘Google You Owe Us’ group hopes to win at least £1bn in compensation for an estimated 4.4 million iPhone users. In 2012, Google was fined 22.5 million USD for this practice by the US Federal Trade Commission, as well as forced to pay 17 million USD to 37 US states and District of Columbia.