Google has run afoul of iPhone users in the UK as it faces a massive lawsuit launched on behalf of 5.4 million people in the country. The legal action is part of a campaign called Google You Owe Us and is being spearheaded by a man named Richard Lloyd.
If successful, Google will have to pay around £200 to each person affected, totaling billions in compensation. The issue at the heart of the case is a technique dubbed the Safari Workaround. The company allegedly used it between June 2011 and February 2012 to barrel past the iPhone’s default privacy settings to install cookies and gather data about a consumer’s browsing habits.
The campaign sees this as unlawful as the iPhone users were unaware of their activity being tracked and their ads being targeted specifically towards them. In fact, Google was successfully sued in the US back in 2012 and 2013 for the very same reason and had to cough up $22.5 million to the US FTC and $17 million to 37 US states and the District of Columbia, respectively.
In spite of this, a Google spokesperson responded to the lawsuit by saying that this was not new and that it had defended similar cases before. The brand doesn’t believe it has any merit and plans to contest it. Lloyd, in the meanwhile, thinks vast companies should be held accountable in British courts since it’s not above the law.
The case doesn’t have a set date yet, but will likely take off next year. We’ll have to wait and see whether millions of iPhone owners will get their due from Google.