Privacy group resurrects fight over Google tracking

high court2The group which lost its High Court action against Google – over claims that the company bypassed iPhone privacy settings to collect personal data on millions of UK users – has resurrected its fight by applying directly to the Court of Appeal.
Led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd, Google You Owe Us was seeking £3.2bn in compensation for the 5.4 million people it claimed were affected, even though just 20,000 people have joined the group.
At the original hearing in May, lawyers for Google You Owe Us told the court that data collected by Google included race, physical and mental health, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financial, shopping habits and location data.
It is claimed that the information was then “aggregated” and users were put into groups such as “football lovers” or “current affairs enthusiasts” for the targeting of advertising.
But last month Mr Justice Warby threw out the case, ruling the claims that people suffered damage were not supported by the facts advanced by the campaign group. Another reason, he said, was the impossibility of calculating the number of iPhone users affected by the alleged privacy breach.
The appeal will aim to establish that the claimants did indeed suffer damages. In a statement, Lloyd said: “Google’s business model is based on using personal data to target adverts to consumers and they must ask permission before using this data. The court accepted that people did not give Google permission to use their data in this case, yet slammed the door shut on holding Google to account.
“By appealing this decision, we want to give affected consumers the opportunity to get the compensation they are owed and show that collective actions offer a clear route to justice for data protection claims.”
Google has already paid out millions of dollars to settle claims in the US relating to the practice, after action taken by the US Federal Trade Commission in 2012.

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