Por Kirstin Ridley
LONDON, Apr 28 (Reuters) – A multi-billion pound UK class action lawsuit against Google, alleging that the internet giant secretly tracked millions of iPhone users, is not viable and should not be allowed to prosecute, the company declared before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Antony White, a lawyer for Google, said on the first day of a hearing that the first US-style data protection lawsuit could only seek redress under English law if any data breach had led the plaintiffs to suffer. damage.
“It is not that the loss of personal data does not have serious consequences, but it cannot always do so in a way that attracts compensation,” he said, adding that any uniform compensation would also not take into account different use of the phone.
Richard Lloyd, former director of consumer rights group Which ?, leads the lawsuit to expand Britain’s fledgling class action regime and billions of pounds of data protection cases against tech giants such as Facebook, TikTok and YouTube .
Lloyd has previously calculated that damages could amount to 750 pounds per iPhone user, which could raise damages to more than 3 billion pounds ($ 4.2 billion) if any future lawsuit is successful.
The case, brought on behalf of more than four million Apple iPhone users, revolves around the question of whether Google breached its obligations as a data controller by clandestinely collecting browser-generated data and then offering it to advertisers. in 2011 and 2012 and if such a class action can proceed in the UK.
Experts say the case is “hugely significant” and warn companies that collect and use personal data for business gain to consider whether they are acting fairly and transparently.
“If the judgment is favorable to the plaintiffs, we will see the doors open to a tsunami of representative data class action lawsuits in the UK,” said Julian Copeman, Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills.
Critics of “opt-out” class action lawsuits, which automatically bind a defined group in a lawsuit unless individuals choose not to do so, say they can lead to unsubstantiated claims and exuberant benefits for litigants and their funders. .
Their defenders claim that they facilitate access to justice, especially when individual claims are too small to be carried out individually, and that alternative “voluntary participation” demands, in which each claimant enrolls, are expensive and require a lot. weather.
The Confederation of British Industry, a trade body, says these cases could be “highly damaging,” noting that the risk of damages could drive settlements regardless of the merits of a case.
($ 1 = 0.7201 pounds)
(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)