BASTION OF VIRTUE Google is being sued in the UK after some of its past actions have returned to haunt it.
The search giant has been accused of illegal data collection from 4.4m users of a browser called ‘Safari' which is something to do with Apples.
The so-called ‘Safari Workaround' named after the fact that it's a workaround in Safari, has led to a ‘collective action' (think ‘class action') suit which could lead to a fine of anything up to £3.2bn, reports The Guardian.
Google is said to have bypassed security for users of the browser on i Phones from August 2011 and February 2012, before using the information to identify users to relevant advertisers.
The group known as ‘Google You Owe Us' is led by Richard Lloyd, erstwhile of Which?, claims that data including ethnicity, health (physical and mental), politics, sexuality, class, income, shopping habits and location were all collected by Google and passed to its ad department for categorising.
Lloyd spits: "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."
Although £3.2bn sounds like a lot, it's a relative drop in the ocean for parent company Alphabet, and even if Google You Owe Us got a maximum payout, it would only work out at around £750 per claimant.
Google argues that the action is inappropriate and has tried to stop it going ahead. They maintain that there is no suggestion that the data was sent on to third parties, that it was going to be difficult, if not impossible to identify who was affected and that there is no change of success.
Tom Price, communications director for Google UK said: "The privacy and security of our users is extremely important to us. This case relates to events that took place over six years ago and that we addressed at the time.
"We believe it has no merit and should be dismissed. We've filed evidence in support of that view and look forward to making our case in Court."
To which we pull out the INQ stock defense - they would say that, wouldn't they? µ
The week in Google
The scandal that just keeps giving
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