Google wins $4.3 billion class action suit filed in the UK Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled in favour of the search engine giant in the recently fled Lloyd vs Google lawsuit. Google’s tech company Mountainview won the case, losing $4.3 billion (approximately £3.2 billion) in damages. If the Court had not ruled in its favour, Google would have lost millions of iPhone users in the United Kingdom.
The class action suit filed against Google in the UK
In the year 2018, Lloyd lost a suit in the Supreme Court that said no legal action could be taken. This was because the tech giant Google was under the control of Wales and England and the Court had voided the decision in 2019. The technology titan appealed the decision in the Supreme Court and eventually won.
The lawsuit against the tech giant started in 2017 and was led by a human rights activist and former Director of ‘Which’ (a human rights group), Richard Lloyd. The entire case was based on the knowledge of Google that it has specific restrictions on iPhones. It’s been claimed that the company has failed to certify the security of Apple’s browser ‘Safari’, even after users opt out of its ‘no check’ feature.
Basically it said that Google ‘bypassed’ Safari browser’s tracking prevention even when users set their devices to “do not track” privacy settings. According to the case filed, Google has collected data from over 4.4 million users during the year 2011 and 2012. Lloyd was essentially representing himself along with the millions of UK-based iPhone users whose data was allegedly being collected by the search engine giant.
The Court finally ruled that the case cannot be continued as a class action lawsuit and then characterized as an “officious litigation, embarked upon on behalf of individuals who have not authorized it.” The Court’s ruling surely comes as a big blow for digital privacy activists, who wanted the support of the court in making technology giants pay up for data breaches.
Comments on the ruling
The United Kingdom Tech News received various comments on the ruling.
Steve Kuncewicz (Partner and Head of Creative, Digital & Marketing) said that the outcome surely would be a sigh of relief for the tech giant and any company that deals with significant data and bases its business model on personal data use, even those that do not might have a reason for celebration.
Partner at Steptoe & Johnson, Leigh Mallon said to UKTN that the decision is a big win for the tech company and is a significant and welcome development for data controllers across the globe. Though data controllers will increasingly face activity from supervisory and regulatory authorities, its almost impossible for people to bring private damage claims as the legal costs of taking these steps will always exceed any damage that might be recovered.
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