A GROUP OF CONSUMERS who launched unprecedented legal action against Google this week got given the go-ahead after appeals judges overturned a High Court ruling.
The group, under the title "Google You Owe Us" (GYOU) and led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd, claims the search giant used a so-called "Safari Workaround" to override privacy settings for iOS users between 2011 and 2012, allowing users' habits and search history to be tracked without explicit consent.
GYOU has proposed that each and every user would be entitled to damages of £750 - which could total £3bn if the group successfully represents the estimated 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK at the time.
Though the case was last year thrown out by the UK High Court, which claimed defendants had not offered up a sufficient basis for their demand of compensation against Google, the Court of Appeal today overturned the decision.
In disagreement with the High Court's decision, it ruled that an individual's personal data has a value and that a loss of this data can give rise to damage and therefore a right to compensation
Richard Lloyd said: "Today's judgment sends a very clear message to Google and other large tech companies: you are not above the law.
"Google can be held to account in this country for misusing peoples' personal data, and groups of consumers can together ask the courts for redress when firms profit unlawfully from ‘repeated and widespread' violations of our data protection rights. We will take this fight against Google all the way."
"Google has resisted the case at every stage, including an unsuccessful attempt to have the case thrown out of the UK's jurisdiction. Today's judgment is a major step forward in what is still likely to be a lengthy process."
Google says it, naturally, plans to seek permission from the UK'ss highest court to appeal.
"Protecting the privacy and security of our users has always been our No. 1 priority," a Google spokesperson said. "This case relates to events that took place nearly a decade ago and that we addressed at the time." µ
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Hey kids, leave them iPhones alone
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Babel in yo ear