A high-profile case has been filed in the Supreme Court, in which Google claims that it has illegally tracked down millions of iPhone users.
The case is not about the lawsuit itself, but about the complainant Richard Lloyd, the former director of the Consumer Protection Group. – can bring it on behalf of the victims.
Arguments will be heard for two days, although no verdict is expected for weeks.
If the case is allowed to continue, many will probably follow suit.
Mr. Lloyd claims that from 2011 to 2012, Google cookies used Apple Safari web browser to collect data on health, race, ethnicity, gender, and finances, even when users chose “do not follow” privacy. »Settlement.
The case was aimed at compensating 4.4 million affected users.
It was the first of its kind in the UK. Although it is common in the United States for one person to file a lawsuit on behalf of many, in the United Kingdom it can only be presented in optical mode, which means that everyone involved must give their consent.
So, for example, the long-standing case of British Airways data breach is still in the process of gathering stakeholders.
Google’s case is testing whether only one individual can take such an action without the active participation of people, which should expedite such legal action.
A similar case against TikTok was recently filed by the former Commissioner for Children on behalf of millions of young people in the EU և UK. It can only be done if a decision is made in the case of Google in favor of such class actions.
Initially, the Supreme Court rejected Google’s case, deciding that it was difficult to calculate how many people were injured or whether they were harmed as a result of the breach.
But later the Court of Appeal decided that the case initiated by Mr. Lloyd’s was a convenient way for people to seek mass recovery of data breaches.
Google has appealed the decision, and the case has now reached the Supreme Court, where TechUK is one of several groups hoping to reject it.
The group, which, among others, represents Google, claims that it can open the floodgates of mass litigation, seriously harming small companies that could face large penalties.
“This is a huge increase in accountability for data service providers in the UK, which is a big part of the digital economy,” said Anthony Walker, TechUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer.
Plaintiff Richard Lloyd said he hoped the case “could establish a fair redress for data misuse that does not currently exist in this country.”
“It’s about giving justice to millions of consumers when their rights are being violated by global tech giants.”
Julian Kopmann, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehalls Law Office, told the BBC that the case could be twofold.
“There are two ways to look at this. Will class action against data claims increase access to justice by allowing companies to take responsibility for their customers’ data?
“Or would it just benefit the financiers, the plaintiffs’ law firms, while at the same time damaging the business, the clogged judiciary, and the victims only receiving nominal money at the end of the case?”
If the case goes on, it could mean that data-related businesses will lose large sums of money.
“Although the amount of each chapter that can win the lawsuits will probably be only a small amount for each individual, given the number of plaintiffs filed, even a small amount for each chapter will be a huge amount. no matter how big they are. ”