Large-scale legal claim against Google for ad-tracking breach

Lawsuit accuses Google of stealing data of 5m UK users

A group led by Richard Lloyd, the executive director of consumer body Which?, claims the internet giant unlawfully collected personal information by bypassing the default settings on the iPhone and tracking online behavior of people using the Safari browser between June 2011 and February 2012.

It looks like Google has rattled some cages here in the United Kingdom, as the company is facing a class action lawsuit.

Where and when is this case likely to be heard? The group said each of the 5.4 million customers could get "several hundred pounds" if the case, filed in London Wednesday, is successful.

"I believe what Google did was simply against the law".

Safari is created to block tracking but default, but Google apparently bypassed this feature (the so called "Safari Workaround") to place cookies that gathered information on users and their habits so the search giant could deliver more targeted adverts. Lloyd said he has "rarely seen such a massive abuse of trust".

The case has been built on the premise that Google made use of cookies to conduct its systematic attack. They are seeking compensation for those affected.

Google agreed to pay a record $22.5m in a case brought by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the same issue in 2012.

"Given how Google has previously been fined heavily for monitoring browsing histories, it is not that surprising to learn about its alleged historic collection of data from iPhone users", he said, via email.

In spite of this, a Google spokesperson responded to the lawsuit by saying that this was not new and that it had defended similar cases before. Lloyd told the BBC that Google had informed him he must "come to California" if he wanted to pursue legal action against them. "We don't believe it has any merit".

The case will reportedly be held in the High Court around spring 2018.

Earlier this year, Google found itself in rough waters after the Information Commissioner's Office revealed that Google DeepMind, an artificial intelligence platform created to enable machines to learn things for themselves, processed almost 1.6 million "partial patient records containing sensitive identifiable personal information" as part of clinical safety testing and to confirm if the technology was safe to deploy during live operations.

In 2013 Google had to pay a $17 million (£10.5m) settlement to 37 U.S. states to resolve the allegations the company violated consumer privacy by using tracking cookies.

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