Google has been accused of “clandestine tracking” of 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK and is facing a lawsuit in the high court for as much as £3.2 billion.
According to a report by The Guardian, Google usurped data from iPhone users through an exploit in the Safari browser. This loophole was found by a Ph.D. researcher in 2012 and termed as “Safari Workaround” which allowed Google to amass personal data.
The information gathered from the loophole allegedly includes users’ race, social class, location, physical and mental health, political views, shopping habits and financial data. This data was used to categorize users into groups for what Google describes as “better-targeted advertising.”
The internet giant Google claims that there are no indications that the Safari Workaround resulted in sharing of the personal data to third parties and there is no way to find out if anyone was affected by the data harvesting.
Anthony White, the lawyer defending Google said that this lawsuit is aimed at damaging the company’s accountability rather than finding compensation for the affected people.
The communications director for Google UK, Tom Price, said that the events in this case “took place over six years ago” and it was “addressed at that time.” He also noted that “the privacy and security of our users is extremely important to us” and believes that the case ” has no merit and should be dismissed.”