A GROUP of consumers organised by former Which? director Richard Lloyd has launched an appeal after its case against Google's so-called 'Safari Workaround' was blocked by the High Court in the UK.
Last month, Justice Warby threw out the case, claiming that the defendants had not offered up a sufficient basis for their demand of compensation against Google.
The group, under the title "Google You Owe Us" (GYOU, was pressing for reparations following the revelation that the search giant had used a so-called "Safari Workaround" to override privacy settings for iOS users, allowing their habits and search history to be tracked, without explicit consent.
Other demographic data such as political leanings, finances, marital status and household income were also monitored, says the court filing.
Because the events took place between 2011 and 2012, the rules of GDPR will not apply, and Google has robustly denied the charge.
GYOU has proposed that each and every user would be entitled to damages of £750 - which could total £3bn in Google if successfully representing the estimated 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK at the time.
The claim was rejected because there was no evidence of loss and damage caused by the incident and that the individuals in the group do not have the same interests from the settlement.
Warby also claimed that users were not actually bothered if their personal data was chosen, implying that many were in it for the money - though it's a different planet that High Court Judges live on if they think that £750 justifies this amount of hassle without there being a principal at work too.
In UK law, evidence of such loss and a unified reason for claiming is required in group damages claims, unlike class-action suits in the US.
As the filing was received at the High Court, Lloyd said: "Google's business model is based on using personal data to target adverts to consumers and they must ask permission before using this data. The court accepted that people did not give Google permission to use their data in this case, yet slammed the door shut on holding Google to account.
"By appealing this decision, we want to give affected consumers the opportunity to get the compensation they are owed and show that collective actions offer a clear route to justice for data protection claims."
What's slightly irking is that in the US, the case has already been settled with the Federal Trade Commission which found in favour, and although the nuances of the law are different here, it does make the fact that Google is playing hardball here seem increasingly like it is withholding because it can. μ
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