iPhone Users Could Claim Up To £750 After Secret Tracking Ruling Today
Google may be forced to pay all UK iPhone users £750 after it reportedly secretly collected data for a year.
Today, November 10, one of the most significant cases in recent legal history will take place between Richard Lloyd and Google.
Lloyd is suing the US multinational technology company for secretly collecting web browsing data from iPhone users, despite how it claimed it couldn’t do so because of default privacy settings on the Safari browser.
Lloyd, who is representing over four million people, alleges Google collected the data between 2011 and 2012. If he wins, the technology giant could be forced to compensate all affected iPhone users by up to £750.
Despite potentially being able to claim up to £750, it is much more likely to be a lower figure, which Lloyd stated in his letter of claims, Sky News reports.
Users were told by Google that they would be opted out of tracking by default, although nearly a decade ago, the company was caught placing advertising tracking cookies on the iPhone browser.
When Stanford University graduate researcher Jonathan Mayer first exposed the secret data collection, the company claimed it was accidental, but resultantly settled and paid a record civil penalty of $22.5 million in August 2012.
The US Federal Trade Commission stated:
Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network, although Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of such tracking, as a result of the default settings of the Safari browser used in Macs, iPhones and iPads.
After admitting to collecting the data for advertising purposes, Google also paid $17 million to many US states, though the settlement saw the technology giant not accept any liability.
More significant, however, is the repercussions today’s ruling could have on other data protection cases in Britain. It could mean other companies who have breached privacy laws are potentially at risk of having consumer rights defenders bring claims against them.
The judgement will take place in London, and is on the same day that Google receives a ruling on its appeal in another case that saw the company fined 4.34bn euros (£3.8bn) for forcing phone makers to exclude other search engines and web browsers from their phones, by pre-installing apps such as Google Chrome and Search.
Google has so far denied engaging in any practice which is considered anti-competitive.
Today’s judgement on the lawsuit between Lloyd and Google is ‘one of the most eagerly awaited decisions of recent years,’ according to Jamie Curle, a partner at DLA Piper law firm.
According to Curle, the results of the lawsuit will have a ‘significant impact on the volume and nature of litigation in the data privacy arena’.
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