Google can’t be sued over mass iPhone data collection, court rules

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Google You Owe Us wants compensation over data collection violations.


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A London judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit brought by a consumer group against Google over data collection claims.

The group, known as Google You Owe Us, said the tech titan had bypassed the iPhone’s security features to collect data on users without their knowledge. It was seeking compensation of $4.2 billion on behalf of more than 4 million people in the UK.

The case relates to claims that Google bypassed security measures on Apple’s Safari browser to collect the personal data of iPhone users between 2011 and 2012. It comes at a time when people are becoming increasingly aware of who’s collecting their data and what for — particularly within Europe where new data protection regulations, known as GDPR, came into force this May.

Google might have been let off the hook legally, but that doesn’t automatically mean the group’s complaints and concerns were invalid. Judge Mark Warby described Google’s actions in his decision as “wrongful, and a breach of duty.”

The reason he wouldn’t allow Google You Owe Us to take the case any further was because it’d be impossible to prove all of the individual claimants were equally harmed by Google’s actions.

Richard Lloyd, the representative for the group, described the decision in a statement as “extremely disappointing”.

It “effectively leaves millions of people without any practical way to seek redress and compensation when their personal data has been misused,” he said. “The court accepted that people did not give permission in this case yet slammed the door shut on holding Google to account.”

Google You Owe Us is planning to appeal the decision if possible.

Google didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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