Google Wins Legal Case Over Safari Browser Tracking in UK Supreme Court
10:10 GMT 10.11.2021 (Updated: 15:16 GMT 28.05.2023)
The lawsuit was lodged in 2018 by Richard Lloyd, former executive director of the technology magazine Which?, who accused Google of illegally misusing "the data of millions of iPhone users" via the "clandestine tracking and collation" of information about internet usage on iPhones' Safari browser, known as the "Safari workaround".
The UK Supreme Court has blocked a lawsuit against Google over claims that the US tech giant "illegally" tracked the personal information of millions of iPhone users.
On Wednesday, a panel of five Supreme Court justices unanimously allowed Google's appeal against the UK Court of Appeal's 2019 judgment on the case.
The appeal was launched by Google in April 2021 after the Court of Appeal overturned a decision by Britain's High Court in October 2019 to reject a relevant claim by Richard Lloyd, former executive director of the UK technology magazine Which?
In 2018, he argued in a legal action that Google "illegally misused the data of millions of iPhone users" through the "clandestine tracking and collation" of information about internet usage on iPhones' Safari browser, known as the "Safari workaround".
The Supreme Court panel ruled against Lloyd's lawsuit because he was unable to prove that all of the individuals he was representing "suffered any material damage or distress" as a result of Google's alleged data breach.
Losing the lawsuit could have entailed Google making a payment of £750 ($1,000) in compensation to all iPhone users for the company's purported secret tracking.
Between 2011 and 2012, Google was under fire over claims it collected the web browsing data of iPhone users. Earlier, the company insisted that the default privacy settings of the Safari browser on Macs, iPhones, and iPads prevent users from being affected by such tracking.
UK media outlets have, meanwhile, suggested that Wednesday's judgment may be followed by other data protection cases that will likely see lawsuits opened against a number of tech giants, including Facebook and TikTok.