Google has been sued by a group of privacy advocates in the UK over improper collection of data from iPhone users. The search giant was sued by a group called Google You Owe Us for alleged misuse of personal data. The group says Google parent Alphabet Inc unlawfully collected personal information of iPhone users by bypassing the default privacy settings.
Bloomberg reports that Google plans to challenge the lawsuit and has said there is no merit in the case. The group says Google breached privacy of 5.4 million iPhone users and each of these users stand to get several hundred pounds in damages if they successfully prove the case. Richard Lloyd, a consumer advocate leading the case said the lawsuit is intended to send a strong message to Silicon Valley tech giants that they are willing to fight back in case laws are broken.
The group says Google used an algorithm to trick iPhones into giving away personal data from the Safari browser between 2011 and 2012. Lloyd added that Google’s actions were against the law and has affected millions of users. The group adds that affected customers are part of the claim and can opt out if they want. In order to succeed in court, the group will have to show that customers are concerned about Google’s use of their personal data.
Google and other tech giants have been facing pressure over data usage and privacy has been one of the hot topic for major device manufacturers. In June, European Union imposed a record 2.4 billion euro penalty for thwarting results on its shopping search service. It also attracted 300,000 euro fine from the Spanish data protection commission for unlawfully processing the user data collected through its Street View mapping service.
Facebook, has also faced the wrath of EU privacy watchdogs for targeted advertising based on shared user data. The social media giant was fined 150,000 euros by France’s regulator for tracking users via cookies. The successful defense of this lawsuit by Google You Owe Us could mean a similar lawsuit in other European countries as well.