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Supreme Court rejects class action data protection claim against Google!

image to represent data protection

The Supreme Court has given judgment on Lloyd v Google [2021]. Richard Lloyd with the financial support of Therium Litigation Funding IC issued a claim against Google. The claim alleged Google had breached its duties as a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998, by secretly tracking the internet activity of Apple iPhone users, for several months, between the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012. The claim alleged that Google used the data for commercial purposes without the users consent or knowledge.

There have been other claims in the United States and England and Wales which relate to the same allegations. Google agreed a penalty of $22.5 million dollars in the US to settle a claim brought by the United States Federal Trade Commission. Google agreed to pay $17 million dollars to settle a consumer-based claim in the US. In England and Wales, a claim was brought by three individuals.

This claim was different from the previous case in England and Wales as Lloyd claimed to represent every person residing in England and Wales that owned an iPhone between the relevant dates, which was estimated to be over 4 million people. A US style class action.

In rejecting the claim, the court stated that “the claimant seeks damages under section 13 of the Data Protection Act 1998 for each individual member of the represented class without attempting to show that any wrongful use was made by Google of personal data relating to that individual or that the individual suffered any material damage or distress as a result of a breach of the requirements of the Act by Google”. The court stated that “the claim has no real prospect of success”. The court noted that the individual members the claimant claimed to represent had not authorised the claim and that the “main beneficiaries of any award of damages would be the funders and the lawyers.

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