A group of iPhone users called ‘Google You Owe Us’ has sued Google over data-collection claims, seeking as much as $4.29 billion in damages. The group, which includes around 4.4 million people, claims that the company unlawfully collected the users’ personal information by bypassing Apple’s iPhone default privacy settings.
According to a recent report from Fortune, information regarding the lawsuit was revealed in documents filed with a court in London. While the potential damages caused by the alleged data-collection have not been determined, the group has suggested that each plaintiff could receive 750 British pounds if the court rules in their favor.
Even though Google has denied the allegations, the group claims that the company used an algorithm which allowed developers to track iPhone users’ browsing history and collect personal information. The algorithm allegedly worked around the default settings in Apple’s Safari browser between August 2011 and February 2012 and helped Google divide the users into categories for advertisers.
The group, led by consumer advocate Richard Lloyd, told the court that the information collected by Google included race, physical and mental health, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financial, shopping habits and location data. On the contrary, Google has contended the type of “representative action” being brought against it by Lloyd and the company’s lawyers have said that there is no suggestion that the Safari Workaround resulted in any information being disclosed to third parties. The company also claimed that it won’t be possible to identify those who may have been affected and therefore, the claim made by Lloyd has no prospect of success.