Google is Getting Sued for Tracking iPhone User Data After All, Despite High Court Block

By Shabana Arif on at

The class action lawsuit against Google from last year is getting the go ahead after all.

This all kicked off in 2017 when the issue was first taken to court here in the UK. The tl;dr version of events is that during 2011 and 2012, Google bypassed iOS security settings to harvest data about iPhone users, like their race, finances, shopping habits, politics, sexuality, and then some.

Last October, the High Court quashed the case, even though over in the US, Google faced similar accusations and ended up coughing up a settlement of $22.5 million. That decision didn't sit well with the affected UK iPhone users, who appealed it last December, saying they wanted £750 for each of the four million people in the civil class action suit.

Well shit is back on, with the Court of Appeal saying that personal data has value, and therefore loss of control of a person's own personal data qualifies as damage.

"This decision is significant not only for the millions of consumers affected by Google's activity but also for the collective-action landscape more broadly," said James Oldnal, of the law firm Mishcon de Reya, who is heading up the case.

"The Court of Appeal has confirmed our view that representative actions are essential for holding corporate giants to account. "In doing so, it has established an avenue to redress for consumers."

Richard Lloyd, of consumer rights group Which? added, "Today's judgement 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 peoples' 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. We will take this fight against Google all the way."

It's not like Google can't afford it, and maybe it'll think twice before spying on people next time. [BBC News]