Court al­lows mass claim against Google over iPhone data

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global -

Lon­don: Lon­don’s Court of Ap­peal gave the go-ahead for ac­tion against Google over claims it col­lected data from more than 4 mil­lion iPhone users, over­turn­ing a rul­ing in 2018 that in ef­fect blocked any route to le­gal re­dress.

The claimants said Google, a unit of Al­pha­bet Inc, had il­le­gally ac­cessed de­tails of Ap­ple iPhone users’ in­ter­net brows­ing data by by­pass­ing pri­vacy set­tings on the Sa­fari browser be­tween June and Fe­bru­ary 2012.

Lon­don’s high court ruled in Oc­to­ber 2018 that Google’s

2011 al­leged role in the col­lec­tion, col­la­tion and use of data from the browser was wrong­ful and a breach of duty, but claimants had not suf­fered “dam­age” as spec­i­fied by Bri­tain’s Data Pro­tec­tion Act.

James Old­nall, lead lawyer on the case, said the Court of Ap­peal de­ci­sion had “con­firmed our view that rep­re­sen­ta­tive ac­tions are es­sen­tial for hold­ing cor­po­rate gi­ants to ac­count”.

Richard Lloyd, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive claimant in the mass ac­tion, said on Wed­nes­day’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 peo­ple’s 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,” he added. Lloyd also said he ex­pected a lengthy le­gal process.

Google said that pro­tect­ing the pri­vacy and se­cu­rity of its users had al­ways been its num­ber one pri­or­ity. “This case re­lates to events that took place nearly a decade ago and that we ad­dressed at the time,” a spokes­woman said. “We be­lieve it has no merit and should be dis­missed.”



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