The UK High Court on Monday ruled against a bid by a users group to sue Google for allegedly collecting sensitive data from 4.4 million iPhone users in England and Wales. The High Court judgement stated, “there is no dispute that it is arguable that Google’s alleged role in the collection, collation, and use of data obtained via the Safari Workaround was wrongful, and a breach of duty.”
Justice Mark Warby, presiding, said it had been blocked because claims that people had suffered material damages were not supported by the facts, as well as the impossibility of calculating the number of iPhone users affected. The collection of data was “wrongful and a breach of duty,” he said, but ruled that there was insufficient evidence “damages” had been incurred to allow the law suit to go ahead. The Judge has a point, but we should ask now, why is the UK government through its communications regulator OFCOM not prosecuting Google on behalf of the public, when it is blatantly obvious these data pirates violated about a million proivacy and data protection laws.
The legal challenge was instigated by a group calling itself Google You Owe Us, and was a representative action — a claim brought by an individual on behalf of a group of people. It alleged that Google, a unit of the US tech company Alphabet, had bypassed privacy settings oniPhones (not difficult, Apple are not the technology gods they sell themselves as,) between August 2011 and February 2012 to collect data for sale to advertisers for the purpose of targeting internet users with advertising matter based on their internet browsing habits. It launched legal action last November.
Richard Lloyd, leader of the users’ group Google You Owe Us, called the decision “extremely disappointing” and said there were plans to appeal. “Today’s judgement effectively leaves millions of people without any practical way to seek redress and compensation when their personal data has been misused,” he said.
“The privacy and security of our users is extremely important to us. This claim is without merit, and we’re pleased the Court has dismissed it,” a Google spokesperson said. Well they would, wouldn’t they?
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