On Monday London’s High Court blocked an attempt to bring legal action against Google for allegedly collecting the data of 4 million iPhone owners without their consent. The legal action was brought forward by the consumers’ campaign group “Google You Owe Us,” reports the Guardian. The group alleged that between August 2011 and February 2012 Google took advantage of a flaw in the iPhone’s privacy settings, which allowed it to collect the sensitive personal data of 4 million iPhone users including information about their race, sexual orientation and interests, information about their physical and mental health, political affiliations, shopping habits, financial situation, and more.
“Google You Owe Us” was seeking hundreds of dollars in damages per affected user, but the search giant’s lawyers argued that there was no suggestion the “Safari workaround” resulted in user information being leaked to third parties and that it was impossible to identify users who had been affected. The judge ended up siding with Google.
But Richard Lloyd, a consumer activist who organized the “Google You Owe Us” court challenge, said he will appeal on behalf of all users:
“Today’s judgment is extremely disappointing and effectively leaves millions of people without any practical way to seek redress and compensation when their personal data has been misused. 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 permission in this case yet slammed the door shut on holding Google to account.”