Technology mogul, Google has been called to court in the UK over allegations that the company had illegally collected the personal data of millions of UK users. The move is the first mass legal action of this scale undertaken in the country.
The move comes in light of a number of allegations made against Google led by ex-Which director, Richard Lloyd.
Lloyd is the leader of an activist group calling itself Google You Owe Us. The group has stated that Google unlawfully harvested information from over 5.4 million UK users by bypassing the privacy settings on their iPhones.
The group believes that each affected user deserves to be paid “a couple of hundred pounds” as remuneration.
Speaking of the event, Lloyd stated that in all his years as an advocate for consumer rights, he has never seen such “a massive abuse of trust, where so many people have no way to seek redress on their own”.
The group believes that Google placed ad-tracking cookies on the devices of a number of Safari users in certain months of 2011 and 2012. Safari devices are built to automatically block such cookies, thus the move shows a certain degree of premeditation on Google’s part.
Lloyd stated that after the action was lodged Google responded that he must “come to California” if he wanted to pursue any sort of legal action against the firm.
Lloyd claimed he was “disappointed” with Google’s response, which he believes proves that the company is attempting to “hide behind procedural and jurisdictional issues rather than being held to account for their actions”.
Google, however, had a different tune to sing. In an interview granted to the BBC, Google stated that an action of this sort was “not new”.
The company pointed out that they had “defended cases before” and added that although they believe the case doesn’t have any actual “merit”, they will contest it just the same.