Allegations of the unlawful accessing of personal data have been raised against Google on behalf of 5.4 million British people, with claims that the search engine giant harvested personal data from iPhones.
At the root of the allegation is the belief that UK laws on data protection were violated by Google getting around default privacy settings on iPhones. It has also been reported that targeted ads were delivered via cookies.
Leading the charge against Google is Richard Lloyd, previously a director at Which, who is heading a campaign called Google You Owe Us.
Speaking to Sky News, Lloyd said: “My job is to represent everyone that was affected by this breach of trust by Google to make sure that these vast companies have to be held accountable in the British courts.”
Lee Munson, Security Researcher at Comparitech.com, said: “Given how Google has previously been fined heavily for monitoring browsing histories, it is not that surprising to learn about its alleged historic collection of data from iPhone users… Also, considering how that data was reportedly collected, despite Apple having privacy settings in place to prevent it, it would not be surprising at all to find out that this is not an isolated case.”
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The lawsuit now being held against Google alleges that the breach of UK iPhone user privacy occurred between June 2011 and February 2012.
“While the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will do little to change the illegality of collecting personal information through such underhand means, it will up the ante in terms of the financial penalties that could be handed to any company that engages in any such activity… Hopefully, therefore, this will be the last time we hear of any alleged surreptitious data collection from unknowing victims who may have believed they had taken the necessary steps to prevent it occurring,” Munson said.