UK Supreme Court sides with Google in lawsuit alleging it tracked iPhone users without...

nanoguy

Posts: 1,044   +15
Staff member
In brief: The UK’s Supreme Court has sided with Google in a class action lawsuit where the search giant was accused of tracking iPhone users without their consent. The ruling will likely have a chilling effect on class action-style lawsuits against the data-mining industry.

Back in 2012, it was discovered that Google had been using a backdoor method that allowed it to install cookies on iPhones even after they were blocked in Safari’s settings. This prompted a British campaign group to start a representative action (the equivalent of a class action lawsuit) on behalf of no less than 5.4 million iPhone users in England and Wales, demanding cash compensation for all of them.

The lawsuit alleged that Google had breached the privacy of those iPhone users between June 2011 and February 2012, and the initiators wanted the company to compensate each one of them with as much as £500 ($676). In August 2012, the FTC fined Google to the tune of $22.5 million for the same wrongdoing, but the search giant won the Lloyd vs Google class action when it was first heard in court.

That ruling was appealed, so the case was then referred to the Supreme Court, which has now declined to hear it since it’s “doomed to fail.” Judge George Leggatt explained that if the campaign group wanted to obtain compensation for iPhone owners, it would have to prove that Google “made some unlawful use of personal data” relating to those users, or otherwise show the damage they suffered as a result of Google’s actions.

In other words, the case has no basis without actual proof that iPhone users were harmed as a result of Google tracking them using embedded cookies without their consent. As for Google, it didn’t exactly deny the practice but the definitive ruling does mean it has effectively dodged a £2.7 billion bill for it.

Masthead credit: Mobile search by Solen Feyissa

Permalink to story.

 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,202   +1,060
Curious. So I’m no legal expert and there is obviously way more to this than what’s in this article. But it does look like the Judge is ok with large corporations tracking you as long as you don’t come to harm.

That to me is not acceptable, I don’t mind being tracked in general but if I want to specifically prevent any company or entity from tracking me then I want that right.
 

seeprime

Posts: 644   +837
Install tracking blockers in your browsers and only use Duckduckgo.com. Never log into anything using Facebook or Google. Its not that hard.
It actully is a bit more complicated than it seems. Facebook, Google, and others provide API's to most popular websites that allow them to know you were there, since the data is sent immediately even before the page loads. It's quite insidious. Even sandboxed you can't block them knowing where you've been. Even Techspot has code that links to Facebook, Twitter and others. Googleapis.com is one of the first lines loaded as "preconnect". Look at the page source to see for yourself. There is no hiding, or fully stopping, it if you're online.
 

Vanderlinde

Posts: 84   +66
It actully is a bit more complicated than it seems. Facebook, Google, and others provide API's to most popular websites that allow them to know you were there, since the data is sent immediately even before the page loads. It's quite insidious. Even sandboxed you can't block them knowing where you've been. Even Techspot has code that links to Facebook, Twitter and others. Googleapis.com is one of the first lines loaded as "preconnect". Look at the page source to see for yourself. There is no hiding, or fully stopping, it if you're online.

Geez if your going to pretend to know anything about the internet, do it right.

The preconnect meta is a signal to the browser to make a connection to the preffered domain, even before the whole webpage is loaded. Why? If halfway an element needs a connection to lets say domainY then half of the page would have to wait untill your browser finished loading the external source.

This obviously would add additional loading time to opening up a page. The preconnect has nothing todo with big evil tech spying on you. It's a feature to improve loading time and nothing more. What happens on the other end well we dont know.

In my experience, using Adguard on IOS, is so far the best blocking mechanism you could ever use. IOS is pretty limited and most adblock require a third party service. Adguard works alot better then any of the rest ive tested and it has a large selection of lists you could use.

These lists also include the blocking of third party domains like FB or Google etc; if your that worried. You could trim a website to it's complete bone functioning, as I'm using it for business use. No need to be targetted by loads of ads or having tracking in the first place. You can also ignore the storage of third party cookies which is a fantastic feature to be honest.

Try it. it is at least one of the partys thats not paid to still show advertisements if you know what I mean. Adguards simply stops the loading of such elements. A 100% clean footprint is pretty much impossible. Most VPN services advertise with 100% safe blabla but they are still required to log if within the EU or USA. Even your (mobile) ISP is logging you, your exact movement, and where you have bin in the last few hours. This data goes all the way back to even a year in some country's.

Encrypted chat? Forget about it. If the police wants in and the service is in any legal state then yes a simple warrant grants them access. But for regular users it's not interesting enough. Google's most products are free; but the use of it means your the product. The same is with facebook. Platform (use) is free but again your the product. Your uploading pics of you and your friends? Great, you just filed yourself in for their genius AI that can recognize faces and automaticly tags your friends along with it.

The big data is already an ongoing train; only to become bigger and bigger. Everything eventually intuitively and fully hooking into you. Because the more time you spend on their product, the better it becomes. Internet these days remind of me gambling. Who can build the best mouse trap ? Thats what this is all about.

I mean take a moment to read any of these articles snowden has put out. It's no joke to what our goverment is doing right now. Full control. And we're just opening wide up by continuing to use these products. Because it's a part of our life by now. Apple with it's imaging scanning; no offence but its just violating anyone's phone that apple once was so known for (privacy).
 
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George Keech

Posts: 80   +87
Curious. So I’m no legal expert and there is obviously way more to this than what’s in this article. But it does look like the Judge is ok with large corporations tracking you as long as you don’t come to harm.

That to me is not acceptable, I don’t mind being tracked in general but if I want to specifically prevent any company or entity from tracking me then I want that right.
I think the point is to claim the amount in that court you need to prove you lost money, which by being tracked you would have to prove that this data gave a company an unfair advantage on a sale platform for something you specifically purchased or something like that - If google noted I went to a place in a town and it recommended a cafe, how would I have lost money.

As a privacy matter I believe that would go to ICO for them to deal with in the UK rather then the high court
 

dangh

Posts: 356   +539
nope, you have a link to the court decision and tbh how did you mistake a cookie in safari in uk vs promoting search results in EU?

Curious. So I’m no legal expert and there is obviously way more to this than what’s in this article. But it does look like the Judge is ok with large corporations tracking you as long as you don’t come to harm.
How does this look like that for you? There is a document linked in this article to 60 pages supporting judge decision. In short, what Google did was not covered fully by EU/UK privacy law from 1998, but added later in 2018, so obviously law can't be applied back in time.

Recommend reading document before saying "I'm not an expert, but..." and after reading remember that you're still not an expert;)
Law in Europe do not really depend this much on Jury opinion.
 

seeprime

Posts: 644   +837
Geez if your going to pretend to know anything about the internet, do it right.

The preconnect meta is a signal to the browser to make a connection to the preffered domain, even before the whole webpage is loaded. Why? If halfway an element needs a connection to lets say domainY then half of the page would have to wait untill your browser finished loading the external source.

This obviously would add additional loading time to opening up a page. The preconnect has nothing todo with big evil tech spying on you. It's a feature to improve loading time and nothing more. What happens on the other end well we dont know.

In my experience, using Adguard on IOS, is so far the best blocking mechanism you could ever use. IOS is pretty limited and most adblock require a third party service. Adguard works alot better then any of the rest ive tested and it has a large selection of lists you could use.

These lists also include the blocking of third party domains like FB or Google etc; if your that worried. You could trim a website to it's complete bone functioning, as I'm using it for business use. No need to be targetted by loads of ads or having tracking in the first place. You can also ignore the storage of third party cookies which is a fantastic feature to be honest.

Try it. it is at least one of the partys thats not paid to still show advertisements if you know what I mean. Adguards simply stops the loading of such elements. A 100% clean footprint is pretty much impossible. Most VPN services advertise with 100% safe blabla but they are still required to log if within the EU or USA. Even your (mobile) ISP is logging you, your exact movement, and where you have bin in the last few hours. This data goes all the way back to even a year in some country's.

Encrypted chat? Forget about it. If the police wants in and the service is in any legal state then yes a simple warrant grants them access. But for regular users it's not interesting enough. Google's most products are free; but the use of it means your the product. The same is with facebook. Platform (use) is free but again your the product. Your uploading pics of you and your friends? Great, you just filed yourself in for their genius AI that can recognize faces and automaticly tags your friends along with it.

The big data is already an ongoing train; only to become bigger and bigger. Everything eventually intuitively and fully hooking into you. Because the more time you spend on their product, the better it becomes. Internet these days remind of me gambling. Who can build the best mouse trap ? Thats what this is all about.

I mean take a moment to read any of these articles snowden has put out. It's no joke to what our goverment is doing right now. Full control. And we're just opening wide up by continuing to use these products. Because it's a part of our life by now. Apple with it's imaging scanning; no offence but its just violating anyone's phone that apple once was so known for (privacy).
You didn't state that connecting to google websites does not send them any data, not present any evidence to confirm that. When websites use google domains during a page load, Google gets information about it. Facebook does the same with any websites that utilize Facebook API's.
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,997   +830
Data mining is like warrantless searching. That is a form of harm. Though it's not necessarily a dollar amount of harm as this lawsuit suggested. That's incalculable. More analogous to a peeping tom.