Mammoth company Google may be strong-armed into paying £2.7bn to compensate selling user data from over 5 million iPhone owners in absence of consent.
The giant has been served with a class action lawsuit after complaints surfaced, claiming it bypassed the factory security settings on iPhones by employing an algorithm that extracts the browsing history from the mobile device. The algorithm exploited what is dubbed the ‘Safari Workaround’, allowing the firm to harvest data from the Apple-built browser.
The name of the campaign that is leading the legal action is Google You Owe Us, their goal being obtaining payouts in the hundreds of quid for as many as possible of the 5.4mil prejudiced iPhone users.
The timeframe for Google’s action starts in June 2011 and ends in February 2012. According to the campaign camp, this is a breach of the Data Protection Act, section 4. Their case is scheduled for hearing in 2018 before the High Court.
Campaign leader Richard Lloyd, previously the director of Which?, declared that the company’s actions were a significant betrayal of iPhone owners. He continued by saying that the legal battle is one of the most arduous ones he has encountered so far.
Mr. Lloyd hopes that their case will serve to enforce the idea that the public is not scared of taking up arms against Google and other Silicon Valley mammoths if laws and rights are being stepped on. He said that he has never encountered an abuse of these proportions prejudicing so many defenseless people in his entire career.
Google stated to the BBC that this type of legal situation is not unfamiliar to them, saying that they do not accept their opponents’ claims and that they will challenge them.
This type of class action is fairly uncommon in the UK, although in 2012 the digital mammoth was charged $22.5 million USD in a similar case raised by the FTC (short for the US Federal Trade Commission).
Mishcon de Reya law firm is leading the legal action.