Campaign sues Google on behalf of 5.4m Britons over snooping allegations

Pablo Tucker
November 30, 2017

A group called "Google You Owe Us" is taking Google to court for the way in which it harvested data from people's iPhones.

Lloyd told Radio 4's Today programme: 'There is some precedent in the United Kingdom courts, where a small group of individuals settled privately with Google, but what has never happened, and what I think is a huge gap in the regulatory system, is everyone else who was affected by this workaround, the privacy settings on Safari, they've never had any access to redress at all and that's what we're trying to tackle with this claim'.

This allowed the company to track internet browsing history and then use this data to sell a targeted advertising services.

The lawsuit is a type of collective action called "representative action", meaning the claim is brought on by one individual on behalf of those affected, who can opt out if they want (the group's FAQ section includes a link to a form for people who do not wish to be part of the claim).

Google responded to the claims by saying in a statement: "This is not new - we have defended similar cases before".

Lloyd reportedly believes that users could get as much as "several hundred pounds" each if he wins.

Yet previous year Google agreed to pay $5.5m to settle safari hacking claims in the U.S., during a similar case filed with a DE federal court in 2012.

"In this way Google and other tech companies can be held to account in relation to any alleged breaches of United Kingdom data protection law".

The lawsuit, filed in London's High Court, alleged Google's tactic, known as the 'Safari Workaround, ' breached United Kingdom data protection laws by taking personal information without permission.

He added: "Through this action, we will send a strong message to Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley that we're not afraid to fight back".

Lloyd secured funding for the action through litigation funder Therium Capital Management, which has previously backed actions against Volkswagen during the emissions scandal and an action against European truck manufacturers over price fixing. In fact, it has a name: The Safari Workaround, and it involves putting cookies on its pages rendered in the default Safari browser.

What does Google have to say about it? The data is said to have been used by Google's DoubleClick, assisting advertisers with targeting consumers.

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