Google wins dismissal of privacy case filed by iPhone users


LONDON • A UK lawsuit filed against Google by millions of iPhone users over data-collection claims was thrown out by a London judge.

The group, known as Google You Owe Us, were seeking as much as £3.2 billion (RM17.47 billion), according to documents filed with the court in May. The organisation, which represents more than four million people, said the Alphabet Inc unit unlawfully gathered personal information by bypassing Apple Inc’s iPhone default privacy settings.

Led by consumer advocate Richard Lloyd, the group was seeking permission to hear the case as a “representative action” that is akin to a US class action, arguing that all the customers share mutual interests. While Judge Mark Warby said yesterday that Google’s actions were arguably “wrongful, and a breach of duty”, he ruled that the members of the group do not have the “same interest” when it comes to proving harm.

“Not everything that happens to a person without their prior consent causes significant or any distress,” Warby said. “Some are quite happy to have their personal information collected online, and to receive advertising or marketing as a result. Others are indifferent.”

The consumer group said it would appeal the ruling.

“People are only now beginning to realise the implications of losing control of their personal data in this way,” Google You Owe Us said in a statement.

“Closing this route to redress puts consumers in the UK at risk and sends a signal to the world’s largest tech companies that they can continue to get away with treating our information irresponsibly.”