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Google Iphone Privacy United Kingdom

Google Faces Lawsuit For Gathering Personal Data From Millions of iPhone Users (betanews.com) 35

Mark Wilson writes: A group going by the name Google You Owe Us is taking Google to court in the UK, complaining that the company harvested personal data from 5.4 million iPhone users. The group is led by Richard Lloyd, director of consumer group Which?, and it alleges that Google bypassed privacy settings on iPhones between June 2011 and February 2012. The lawsuit seeks compensation for those affected by what is described as a "violation of trust." Google is accused of breaching UK data protection laws, and Lloyd says that this is "one of the biggest fights of my life." Even if the case is successful, the people represented by Google You Owe Us are not expected to receive more than a few hundred pounds each, and this is not an amount that would make much of an impact on Google's coffers.

Google Faces Lawsuit For Gathering Personal Data From Millions of iPhone Users

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    https://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/richard-lloyd-to-leave-consumer-champion-which/

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @09:10AM (#55649937)
    Any more, I think Google's legal department is larger than their search engine department. I think half the world is suing them.
    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Shouldn't be a surprise. When you hold dominant market share in multiple areas, you're gonna get sued. In google's case, they're likely making that legal department even larger just in-case they get hit with antitrust laws, which seems to be in the wind on both sides of the pond.

  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @09:16AM (#55649961) Homepage
    Google is not evil. Therefore Google won't do anything bad with the massive amount of highly personal information it invasively collects about every person ever alive on the planet, without their consent.

    I know Google is not evil, because Google says so. Their motto is "don't be evil". Since Google is not evil, therefore Google cannot lie. And therefore, the motto must be true, and thus Google is not evil.

    And please do not call this circular logic. Think of it as no loose ends.

    and only an idiot would begin or end a sentence with and.
    • Google is not evil....I know Google is not evil, because Google says so. Their motto is "don't be evil".

      Yes, but the corporation Google no longer exists. The new corporation is "Alphabet". And Alphabet doesn't have that motto....

    • by WCMI92 ( 592436 )

      All corporations are amoral, corrupt, and will sell your legs if there is profit in it.

    • We do not "admit" so you must "acquit".

  • My Android Phones use LineageOS which is Android, without Google. Google GApps is an optional Flash package for LineageOS you can flash with if you want to but you don't have too. In my case, I don't. I use F-Droid and APK Pure.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      iOS also doesn't have Google. Didn't stop this. Cause it has nothing to do with the user device.

  • by raburton ( 1281780 ) on Thursday November 30, 2017 @10:16AM (#55650301) Homepage

    What Google did is wrong and they should get some form of punishment. A fine is probably appropriate (locking people up seems like overkill) as long as it is sufficiently large to make them take note. On the other hand there is a good argument for the fine being in proportion to the offence.

    IANAL but I rather thought compensation in the UK was based on some actual loss or harm to the victim, it's hard to imagine how anyone affected here was harmed to the tune of a "few hundred pounds". The fact that the group is calling themselves Google You Owe Us tells us a lot about their motives.

    Also, there are no technical details in the article, but from what I have seen elsewhere the issue involved not respecting a default block of third party cookies. Given that this was not set by the user, in most cases, it's will be hard to make a legal argument that what google did was against the consent of the user. The user has no way at all to signal that they don't want third party cookies, if that is the default setting, they can only opt back in (so you could argue that Apple is to blame for this whole issue). To make a case they will have to prove that they actually wanted to block them and the defaults were what they wanted. I doubt the average user knew what third party cookies were until they were offered a few hundred pounds to read up on them.

    • hard to make a legal argument that what google did was against the consent of the user

      That depends on your mental model for what the default is. Lots of us prefer the model that you ought to get positive informed consent before collected personally-identifiable data, and can only use an 'opt-out' system if the data are aggregated (for instance, by adding +1 to a counter somewhere every time a person views an article, that's obviously not 'personally-identifiable', it's just incrementing an integer).

      The user has no way at all to signal that they don't want third party cookies, if that is the default setting,

      I mean, let's be realistic: you've go a few options

      1. Make the user specify their intent for eac
    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      A fine is probably appropriate (locking people up seems like overkill) as long as it is sufficiently large to make them take note. On the other hand there is a good argument for the fine being in proportion to the offence.

      The problem we're seeing is that the fines don't reflect to the proportion of the offence in many cases. Either because the law doesn't allow it or because it's strictly limited by regulations, which is why you're hearing more clamor for locking people up over it. If there's even the possibility of someone being locked up over privacy violations? Well you're going to see a big push by companies to lobby for higher fines. But since government works at a snails pace, and are usually 20 years behind the tim

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The amount awarded is based on restorative justice, i.e. the amount needed to put the wronged party back in the position they would have been in if it had not happened.

      In cases like this, the award will be for emotional distress and the cost of getting Google to stop doing it. Of course, most of these people would not have been distressed if they had not been told about it, but still.

      For data protection / privacy cases like this a few hundred pounds is actually on the low side. For example, a parking enforc

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you want to know how much your user data is worth to Google, facebook etc, take their gross revenue and divide it by the number of users.

      In 2016, Google's gross revenue as 89 trillion USD, or around 30 USD for each of the 3B estimated users. Given that iPhone-wielding Brits probably pull in a lot more revenue than OLPC-wielding Somalians, and that damages for gross and premeditated breaches of established law tend to be punitive to act as a deterrent, "hundreds of pounds" is cheap.

  • "this is not an amount that would make much of an impact on Google's coffers."

    Which is why jail time for the board and the CEO and CIO is better than fines. Fines only hurt the people who actually work for a living, the board and the shareholders who make these decisions don't pay those costs... they just lay off more employees and/or cut more benefits. Time to stop letting incorporation shield these greedmongers from the consequences of their actions or in-actions...

  • ...of turning this into a fanboy war, which isn't the intention here, let me ask something which I didn't see asked anywhere:
    If Google "bypassed" iOS privacy settings, why isn't Apple doing anything about it, how was it done, and why is there a lawsuit from Apple costumers against Google, but nothing against Apple?

    Wouldn't it be Apple's responsibility to enforce such privacy settings?

    What's the extension of responsibility here since it's Google software operating on Apple devices?

  • You can hide under the bed if it makes you feel better. But this corporate Bull&@** is not going to end any time soon.. People don't vote for sane candidates. Or people just don't vote ( But they complain a lot after the elections!! ), so the same idiot $$$politician$$$ keeps on wrecking or taking away things you use.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"

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