GOOGLE IS facing a class-action style lawsuit from iPhone users in the UK for data collection which overrode the device privacy settings.
A group called 'Google You Owe Us' (G-YOU) led by Which? boss Richard Lloyd is working with law bods Mischon de Reya to prove that Google collected the errant data in a "violation of trust" between June 2011 and February 2012.
Lloyd describes it as the "fight of his life", and he told The Guardian: "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.
"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."
The breach is not new. In fact, it has a name: The Safari Workaround, and it involves putting cookies on its pages rendered in the default Safari browser. In the US, the company has already paid out $40m because of it in dribs and drabs, but this is the first time we've seen a case of its type in the UK.
Google has responded by saying: "This is not new. We have defended similar cases before. We don't believe it has any merit and we will contest it."
If G-YOU wins the case, Google may have to cough up to five million iPhone users active at the time of the alleged activity.
Lloyd adds: "I want to spread the word 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."
Users could be entitled to up to £200 each, which would leave Google holding a bill for over a billion pounds. It would also open the floodgates for similar class action lawsuits to become commonplace in the UK. µ
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