UK based users have filed a lawsuit against Google for allegedly collecting personal data. Over 4.4 million users have complained about Google and sued it for £3.2bn.
“Google you owe us” is the name of the group which has launched the legal action. The group is led by Richard Lloyd, following claims that the internet giant “bypassed the privacy settings” on Apple’s Safari internet browser. This was done in order to divide people into categories for advertisers”, according to a report.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Lloyd, said the information was “aggregated” and users were put into groups such as “football lovers” or “current affairs enthusiasts” for the targeting of advertising.
He added that the data was gathered through “clandestine tracking and collation” of browsing on the iPhone, known as the “Safari Workaround,” an activity he said was exposed by a PhD researcher in 2012.
The lawsuit concerns the data that was collected between August 2011 and February 2012.
In a court hearing in London, lawyers for the group claimed that Google collected personal data which includes race, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financial, and physical & mental health. Apart from these, the information about shopping habits and location data was also collected.
According to the Google court documents, each of the 4.4 million users who had their data collected could receive £750 in compensation. Google denied the claims saying that the “the dispute doesn’t belong in a London court”.
Anthony White QC, who is representing the Californian tech giant argued that Lloyd was undertaking the lawsuit in a bid to “pursue a campaign for accountability and retribution”, rather than as a means to seek compensation for those affected.
“The court should not permit a single person to co-opt the data protection rights of millions of individuals for the purpose of advancing a personal ‘campaign’ agenda,” he said.