Google could be forced to pay over five million iPhone users £2.7 billion for selling their data without their consent

“Google could be forced to pay over five million iPhone users £2.7 billion in compensation as it is accused of selling their data without their consen,” Katie Morley reports for The Telegraph. “A new consumer campaign called “Google You Owe Us” is launching a class action against the web giant over allegedly unlawfully harvesting the browsing histories of iPhone users without their permission.”

“A group of at least 5.4 million affected consumers could be owed hundreds of pounds each in compensation, according to Richard Lloyd, former Which? executive director and Government adviser, who is spearheading the action,” Morley reports. “If successful the case would be the biggest compensation bill ever paid to British consumers over improper use of data. A claim by 5.4 million people for £500 each would result in a £2.7 bn payout for Google.”

“Between June 2011 and February 2012, it is alleged that Google unlawfully harvested the personal information of millions of people in the UK by bypassing the default privacy settings on the Apple iPhone. Google’s algorithms allowed them to trick people’s iPhones into releasing personal data from the phone’s default browser, Safari. This has become known as the ‘Safari Workaround,'” Morley reports. “Mr Lloyd and legal experts believe this was against the law because it breached Section 4 of the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 13 of the Act individuals can claim compensation for breaches of the Act. Lawyers at Mishcon de Reya have served Google with legal papers and the case is expected to appear in the High Court next year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The saga continues.

Google responds to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention with new Google Analytics cookie is designed to keep ad tracking from Safari intact – September 27, 2017
UK Supreme Court allows Google to appeal ruling granting Apple Safari users the right to sue over ad tracking – July 29, 2015
Apple slams Google in Safari 7.1 release notes: ‘Adds DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track users’ – September 18, 2014
Google to pay $17 million to settle U.S. states’ Safari user tracking probe – November 20, 2013
Judge dismisses case against Google over Safari user tracking – October 11, 2013
UK Apple Safari users sue Google for secretly tracking Web browsing – January 28, 2013
Google pays $22.5 million to settle charges of bypassing Apple Safari privacy settings – August 9, 2012
US FTC votes to fine Google $22.5 million for bypassing Safari privacy settings; Settlement allows Google to admit no liability – July 31, 2012
Google’s D.C. lobbyists have outspent Apple nearly 10 to 1 so far this year – July 23, 2012
Google to pay $22.5 million to settle charges over bypassing privacy settings of millions of Apple users – July 10, 2012
Apple’s anti-user tracking policy has mobile advertisers scrambling – May 9, 2012
Google said to be negotiating amount of U.S. FTC fine over Apple Safari breach – May 4, 2012
Cookies and privacy, Google and Safari – February 25, 2012
Obama’s privacy plan puts pinch on Google – February 24, 2012
Obama administration outlines online privacy guidelines – February 23, 2012
Google sued by Apple Safari-user for bypassing browser privacy – February 21, 2012
Google responds to Microsoft over privacy issues, calls IE’s cookie policy ‘widely non-operational’ – February 21, 2012
Google’s tracking of Safari users could prompt FTC investigation – February 18, 2012
WSJ: Google tracked iPhone, iPad users, bypassing Apple’s Safari browser privacy settings; Microsoft denounces – February 17, 2012


        1. All proof is to the contrary of your assertion. You are just as gullible in your views as the people you apparently think are naive. People who are genuinely reality based recognize that Apple would gain nothing but costs in collecting user data in the way google has been accused. Always ascribing nefarious motives to a company such as Apple is just as foolish as always assuming beneficence. You apparently think you are not being fooled, when in fact, you have no better grasp on reality than the average chump.

        2. Apple gets paid by Google for search, where the data has been consented to. They get a share of the clicks. What this suit is about is something completely separate. Google bypassed Safari’s privacy settings to harvest personal data. If Apple were at all liable, believe me, the folks in the UK would be suing them too.

          Either you’re being disingenuous by pretending not to understand that Google bypassed Apple’s privacy settings, or you’re not as smart as you think you are.

        3. And if Google is such the bad actor you believe, why is oh so security conscious Apple getting paid to use them? You cannot believe Google is bad and Apple is good on this one, as far as protecting your security. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

  1. I’ll believe it when it happens, but I welcome companies being brought to account for flouting the law in countries which they are operating in.

    Google have a particularly strong track record for “accidentally’ collecting data on private individuals, such as WiFi data from houses that their street view cars were passing ( for which they were fined in Germany ) and more recently for sneakily tracking users who had opted out of being tracked and of course this story relates to them defeating privacy settings on iPhones.

    Sadly having to pay a two or three billion dollars won’t put them out of business, but at least it will send a very strong message that they keep behaving in a way which is unacceptable and it won’t be tolerated.

    Even more sadly, Google can get away with such practices in countries where huge lobbying budgets allow them to buy influence.

    1. All good points, especially regarding the amount of the proposed fine. If the amount of compensation were set at £5000 for each individual, then I suspect that £27 billion might get Google’s attention. Hell, it might be enough to force them to change their unscrupulous ways of doing “business”.

      Nah. Maybe when pigs fly.

      1. Don’t forget that this is a civil case and the £2.7 billion would be paid as compensation to those individuals affected, it’s not a fine in the usual sense of the word.

        As one who would qualify for this payment, along with my wife and other members of my family, I’m obviously a little biassed and hope that Google are forced to pay us, but I still won’t believe it until the cheque lands on my door mat.

    1. Just 5 star me and I’ll do the rest, all aboard the Google compensation gravy express! Ps I feel violated myself, £500 doesn’t seem nearly enough for the trauma I’ve suffered and continue to suffer, I had no idea Google was shafting me without my permission, talk about being violated I used to be a confident outgoing type of guy, now I spend all my time looking over my shoulder.

    2. Essentially you need to do nothing just yet, but will need to prove that you used an iPhone, had a valid Apple ID and were resident in the UK during the qualifying period. There are are additional minor requirements, but that’s the essence of it.

  2. Looking up the method in which the “Safari Workaround” appeared to work, it is a cookie based data ‘collection’. As cookies are specific to each site/domain I am guessing that those sites would have to have Google Adwords web components displaying ads on the pages. Not sure how much identifying personal data you can get out of that outside of what ads you may have clicked on and the static content of the page that may show your interest in a particular topic that tie to certain keywords the Adwords component uses to ‘pick’ which ads (or group of ads) to next display. The plaintiff will have to prove that the cookie data is somehow identifying the user specifically by tying the data ‘collection’ with personally unique data like name, address, etc.

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