Google Class Action Lawsuit Blocked by UK Supreme Court

The latest ruling in the case Lloyd v Google is a significant win for Google.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

The UK Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Google blocking the class action lawsuit over its alleged tracking of iPhone users’ personal data.

The proceedings were brought before the Supreme Court by Richard Lloyd a consumer rights activist and former director of the Which? group under old data protection legislation, the Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA 1998”), on the basis that iPhone users did not consent to the tracking of their personal data and whether individuals who were affected by this could launch a US style class action lawsuit against Google. The claim also dates back to circa 10 years ago.

Lloyd’s claim for a class action lawsuit was inconsistent with section 13 of the DPA 1998 and compensation was not an entitlement unless the data subject could prove they suffered financial loss.

The Supreme Court also noted that this section of the DPA 1998 had been disapplied in Vidal Hall v Google for being inconsistent with the GPDR however, in this particular case that ruling did not apply. In addition, the data subjects could not prove how much personal data had been tracked by Google.

If the UK Supreme Court had allowed the class action then this would have opened the doors to other claims over the tracking of personal data and could have a significant impact on the legal and regulatory landscape governing data protection.

This decision is also consistent with the UK Government’s decision to opt-out of representative action following its consultation on class actions under the Data Protection Act 2018 noting that the interest of businesses and other organisations, regulatory authorities and the judicial system outweighs the benefits of a class action for data subjects.

This decision will be welcomed by Google and other businesses that could have potentially found themselves in a similar situation. The implementation of the new data protection framework has been in effect for just over 2 years and businesses and other organisations are still learning to navigate this legislation.

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