Google battles multi-billion pound British class action over alleged iPhone tracking

A proposed multi-billion pound British class action against Google, which alleges the internet giant secretly tracked millions of iPhone users, is not viable and should not be allowed to proceed, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was told on Wednesday.

Google breakup. Image: Google logo

Kirstin Ridley for Reuters:

Antony White, a lawyer for Google, told the first day of a two-day hearing that any maiden, U.S.-style data protection lawsuit could only seek redress under English laws if a data breach led to claimants suffering damage.

“It is not my case that loss of personal data may not have serious consequences, but it may not always do so in a way that attracts compensation,” he said, adding that any uniform award would also fail to take into account differing phone usage.

Richard Lloyd, former director of consumer rights group Which?, is leading the landmark claim… says he wants to hold the world’s biggest companies to account, has estimated that people who used iPhones between 2011 and 2012 could be owned redress of more than 3 billion pounds ($4.2 billion) if any future trial succeeds.

He alleges that Google illegally took iPhone users’ personal data by tracking internet browsing histories and used this to sell a lucrative, targeted advertising service.

MacDailyNews Take: In 2012, Google paid a paltry $22.5 million to settle charges related to its surreptitious bypassing of the privacy settings of millions of Apple product users. Hopefully, they’ll eventually be forced to pay what adds up worldwide to a meaningful, punitive amount.

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, September 2014

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  1. “Hopefully, they’ll eventually be forced to pay what adds up worldwide to a meaningful, punitive amount.” For what? Google tracks people for advertising to make money to keep the lights of their search engine on, and Apple charges developers 30% to make money to keep the lights of their app store on. Should we, instead, pay for search engine usage?

  2. And Google pays Apple $12 Billion per year for Google search to be default search on iOS.

    Apple sells security as a feature.
    Since Apple is the sole arbiter, IT department, and administrator of iOS, what responsibility do they bear.

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