Before you start freaking out, it’s worth mentioning that this new privacy scandal isn’t new. Google is facing a class action suit in the UK now for the wrongdoings dating back to 2011 and 2012. Google was caught circumventing iPhone’s Safari security to quietly collect data from more than 5 million people. Google at the time said that it had fixed the issue, but this new class action suit is holding the company responsible.
Between June 2011 and February 2012, Google had been collecting personal data from iPhones after bypassing the privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser. It wasn’t just Google that was doing this. At the time, Facebook and other online advertising networks were found to be abusing the browser’s settings.
Google back then said that the practice was limited to its Google+ push. But the new class action suit alleges that Google abused the browser’s settings and collected the data to instead sell targeted ads. According to The Guardian, former executive director of consumer body Which? Richard Lloyd is leading the efforts against Google. The group, called Google You Owe Us sys that there are up to 5.4 million people in Britain which used an iPhone between June 2011 and February 2012 and might be entitled to compensation.
“I believe that what Google did was simply against the law. Their actions have affected millions, and we’ll be asking the courts to remedy this major breach of trust,” Lloyd said. “Through this action, we will send a strong message to Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley that we’re not afraid to fight back if our laws are broken.”
“In all my years speaking up for consumers, I’ve rarely seen such as massive abuse of trust where so many people have no way to seek redress on their own. This is … the first case of its kind in the UK against a major tech company for misusing our valuable personal data.”
“I want to spread the word about our claim. Google owes all of those affected fairness, trust and money. By joining together, we can show Google that they can’t get away with taking our data without our consent and that no matter how large and powerful they are, nobody is above the law,” he concluded.
Google has stated again that this type of privacy talk isn’t new and is going to work hard at defending itself. A company spokesperson says that “we have defended similar cases before. We don’t believe it has any merit and we will contest it.” It will definitely be interesting to see how this goes for Google since privacy laws in the UK are far less forgiving.