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UK Supreme Court blocks case against Google over data privacy breach

The UK's Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Wednesday to back Google's appeal against a mass legal action that it wrongfully collected millions of iPhone users' data.

The legal action was taken on behalf of around 4.4 million people in England and Wales, who have now been denied compensation of up to £750 ($1,000) each. This amounted to £3 billion in total.

The Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeal's 2019 judgement. Had it not been, the case could have opened the door to other mass legal actions in the UK in other data privacy cases.

Google was accused of illegally misusing the data of millions of iPhone users by secretly tracking their web browsing activity through advert-tracking cookies and other data-storing technology, and using the data to sell a targeted advertising service between June 2011 and February 2012.

Richard Lloyd, a consumer rights advocate and former director of consumer group Which?, was the one to bring the case in 2017.

The Supreme Court said that his claim could not succeed because Lloyd could not prove that all the individuals he was representing "suffered any material damage or distress," and so could not have all suffered the same harm.


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