This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed
If there’s an iPhone in your pocket, there is a good chance you’re due a £750 windfall from Google. The Californian search company could be forced to pay compensation to more than four million iPhone owners across the UK if a class action claim currently battling in the Supreme Court wins its case.
The case itself is worth more than £3.2 billion, however, given the sheer number of possible claimants — that mighty sum still only works out at around £750 per person impacted.
The class-action suit accuses Google of unlawfully gathering personal data from iPhone users between August 2011 and February 2012. Google is alleged to have bypassed Apple’s default privacy settings on its Safari web browser to siphon off some user data using cookies.
Although an earlier lawsuit tried to pin this practice on Google, it was thrown out. However, back in October 2019, three Court of Appeal judges overturned the earlier ruling. Safari was designed to block all third-party cookies when it launched on iPhone, however, the Court of Appeal judges found that Google had indeed engineered a way to circumvent this block.
Google is purported to have gathered information from Safari users to split iPhone owners into different categories for advertisers. It’s claimed such information ranged from political leanings to sexuality and racial or ethnic origin that helped advertisers decide who to direct their marketing to.
The Court Of Appeal ruling deemed that “[s]tripped of technicalities, its effect was to enable Google to set the DoubleClick Ad cookie on a device, without the user’s knowledge or consent”. Back on the track, the class action case, aptly titled “Google You Owe Us”, will get its first day in the courtroom this morning, Wednesday April 28, 2021.
The case, led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd, is also being backed by litigation funding firm Therium. The company has raised a total of $ 1 billion for funding disputes and is stumping up £15.5m to the “Google You Owe Us” class action case.
According to My Lloyd, the aim of the court case is simply to “hold one of the world’s most powerful companies to account. We say that Google illegally misused the data of millions of UK iPhone users in 2011-2012, bypassing phone privacy settings to track their browsing history. Our data is hugely valuable, and the Supreme Court hearing could give consumers a viable way to get fair redress when tech giants misuse our data.”
Meanwhile, Google is resolute that it has nothing to fear from the case. In a statement ahead of the case beginning in earnest tomorrow, a spokesperson for the company said: “These claims relate to events that took place a decade ago and that we addressed at the time. We look forward to making our case in court.”
Express.co.uk will keep track of the court case — something you’ll definitely want to do if you’re a longtime iPhone owner too. Google You Owe Us has provided an outline for individuals that can be used to assess if they are eligible for compensation, depending on the outcome of the case.
You qualify if you answer yes to each of these questions:
1 – Were you present in England and Wales between June 1, 2011 and February 15, 2012
2 – During that time, did you have an Apple ID?
3 – During that time, did you own or were you in lawful possession of an iPhone?
4 – During that time, did you use the Safari browser to access the internet?
5 – During that time, did you keep the default security settings in the Safari browser?
6 – During that time, did you not opt-out of tracking and collation via Google’s “Ads preference Manager”?
7 – Were you resident in England and Wales on 31 May 2017?
The group states if it is successful, individuals will have to register with it to receive any money owed.