Google could be forced to pay iPhone owners in the UK up to £750 each as part of a privacy lawsuit targeting the tech giant’s data-collection methods. The litigation is being brought by campaign group Google You Owe Us, which is seeking up to £3.2billion for 4.4million iPhone users, according to Bloomberg.
The group claims that between August 2011 and February 2012 Google illegally obtained personal data from Apple’s handsets by bypassing the devices’ privacy settings.
This information allegedly included racial or ethnic origin, physical and mental heath, political affiliations or opinions, sexuality and sexual interests and social class.
The information was then “aggregated” and users were put into groups such as “football lovers” or “current affairs enthusiasts”.These were then offered to marketers to use for their targeted advertising campaigns. Google’s court documents reveal that each individual could bag £750 if the case is successful.
Those entitled to any potential damages include individuals who were present in England and Wales at any time between June 1, 2011 and February 15,2012, have an Apple ID (the account you use to download apps, games and music on the App Store and iTunes), owned an iPhone, and used Safari as their main browser.
In addition, you must have not opted-out of tracking via Google’s “Ads Preference Manager” tool.
If Google loses out, the group will ask iPhone users to register in order to receive the compensation.
The company denies the allegations and claims it is impossible to identify those who may have been affected.
Google’s rival Facebook also boasts controversial ad-targeting tech that has previously been blasted by activists and lawyers for ethnic and age discrimination in housing and job ads.