UK Supreme Court ruled with Google on class action suit alleging information theft

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled against those bringing a British class action suit against Google for $4.3 billion over allegations that they unlawfully tracked personal information from iPhone users. 

Reuters reported that the judges ruled unanimously to grant Google’s appeal, which has derailed a number of data privacy cases that were slated to be filed against both Facebook and TikTok.

“The landmark case led by Richard Lloyd, a consumer rights activist and the former director of Which? magazine, sought to extend Britain’s class action regime to include compensation claims for alleged misuse of data – even if there is no obvious financial loss or distress,” Reuters reported. 

The consumer rights activist was backed by a commercial litigation funder who was alleging that Google took person information from iPhone users between 2011 and 2012.

Outlined in the suit is the allegation that the tech giant bypassed the privacy settings on Safari browsers meant to keep the scrollers’ information private, gathered information about browsing histories of users and used this information for commercial targeting, according to Reuters. 

“We are bitterly disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to do enough to protect the public from Google and other Big Tech firms who break the law,” Lloyd said.

Plaintiff’s attorney, James Oldnall of the firm Milberg said that decision marked a “dark day when corporate greed is valued over our right to privacy.”

Google has been under fire in the United States for other issues, namely the filtering of information that is put on their servers, and the targeting of the purveyor of conservative political ideologies. 

However, British businesses in the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) were relieved by the ruling, saying that if it had gone forward it would have cooled interest in investment in the firms across the country that would have been impacted. 

“The Supreme Court has recognised that the ‘loss of control’ of an individual’s personal data is not, in and of itself, sufficient to found a collective action for compensation,” said Kate Scott, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance. “Data litigation will undoubtedly continue, but with a focus on claims where actual damage has been suffered – which is the right outcome for all businesses, and not just big Tech like Google.”