Friday, 01 December 2017 10:00

UK group to sue Google over iPhone snooping

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A British group going by the name Google You Owe Us has launched a class action against Google for allegedly harvesting millions of iPhone users' personal information.

The group is led by Richard Lloyd, former executive director of the UK consumer group Which?.

The group estimates that more than five million iPhone users in the UK could be owed hundreds of pounds each in compensation from Google for the unauthorised snooping.

The class action alleges that between June 2011 and February 2012, Google bypassed the security settings on the iPhone's Safari browser and set a third-party cookie.

This made it possible for Google to collect personal data without seeking consent from users. "This data was used to sell a service to its advertising network called the DoubleClick Service, which enables advertisers to target and tailor adverts according to an iPhone user’s preferences," a statement on the Which? website said.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "People have to put their trust in big companies such as Google because they increasingly play a large role in our everyday lives. To have this good faith rewarded by Google taking advantage of people’s information without their consent is something that rightly must be challenged.

"This ​welcome ​campaign should empower consumers by bringing the issue into the spotlight and enabling those affected to rightly seek collective compensation."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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