Google is being sued in the high court for as much as £3.2bn
Google again making headlines but this time for all the wrong reason, Google has been sued in the UK for as much as £3.2bn for the alleged “clandestine tracking and collation” of personal information from 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK.
Richard Lloyd, the former Director accused Google of bypassing the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari web browser that comes pre-installed on iPhone between August 2011 and February 2012 in order to divide people into categories for advertisers.
According to The Guardian, Lloyd’s campaign group Google You Owe Us told the court that the search giant collected information including race, physical and mental health, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financial, shopping habits and location data. The group states that the information was then aggregated and users were put into groups to make it easier for advertisers to target them.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Lloyd told the court that Google involved in an activity known as the “Safari Workaround” which gathers data using “clandestine tracking and collation.” Tomlinson said the activity was identified and exposed by a PhD researcher in 2012 and that Google has already paid $39.5 million to settle claims in the US relating to this practice.
Tomlinson said Google has already paid $39.5m to settle claims in the US relating to the practice. Google was fined $22.5m for the practice by the US Federal Trade Commission in 2012 and forced to pay $17m to 37US states.
“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,” The Guardian quotes Lloyd ahead of the hearing.
The campaign group hopes to win at least £1bn in compensation for an estimated 4.4 million iPhone users. Court filings show Google You Owe Us could be seeking as much as £3.2bn, meaning claimants could receive £750 per individual if successful.