An attempt to bring legal action against Google for its alleged tracking of an estimated 4.4 million iPhone users in 2011 and 2012 has been blocked by the UK High Court (the court).
Campaign group “Google You Owe Us” brought the claim as a representative action on behalf of the affected individuals (the class) in 2017. It is thought to be the UK’s first mass legal action of its kind.
Google You Owe Us argued that Google breached its duty under the Data Protection Act 1998 by circumventing the default settings in Apple Safari, placing cookies on the browser to track user’s movements, and using the collected data to sell advertisements. The decision is still relevant to the Data Protection Act 2018.
In an application for permission to serve the claim on Google in the United States, the High Court was required to determine, amongst other things, whether the claim had a reasonable prospect of success.
Justice Warby acknowledged that Google may have breached its duty. He said: “There is no dispute that it is arguable that Google’s alleged role in the collection, collation and use of data obtained via the Safari Workaround was wrongful, and a breach of duty.”