In Brief

Google sued by Apple iPhone users for collecting their personal data

Campaign group seeks £3.2bn payout for the 4.4 million people affected

Google is being sued for a potential £3.2bn for allegedly collecting personal data from 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK. 

Consumer campaign group Google You Owe Us is launching the legal action, led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd, following claims that the internet giant “bypassed the privacy settings” on Apple’s Safari internet browser “in order to divide people into categories for advertisers”, The Guardian reports.

The data is believed to have been collected between August 2011 and February 2012, the newspaper says. 

At a court hearing in London yesterday, lawyers for the campaign group said that Google collected personal data including race, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financial, and physical and mental health, The Daily Telegraph says. Information about shopping habits and location data was also harvested.

The group will seek permission to hear the case as a class action lawsuit, arguing that all iPhone customers “share the same interest”.

Although the “potential damages” have yet to be determined, Bloomberg says, Google court documents suggest all 4.4 million users who had their data collected could receive £750 each in compensation. 

Google denied the claims during the hearing and said that “the dispute doesn’t belong in a London court”, the news site says. 

Representing the California-based company, Anthony White QC argued that Lloyd was heading 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 Independent reports.

“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.

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