Google sued by British iPhone users in £1bn snooping claim

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"At the moment there is a sense that Google and similar tech giants from Silicon Valley are behaving as if they are above the law, that they can't be held to account in the courts in this country". The group says that about 5.4 million people in England and Wales may be eligible for up to £100s in compensation - if the suit is successful.

Safari is created to block tracking but default, but Google apparently bypassed this feature (the so called "Safari Workaround") to place cookies that gathered information on users and their habits so the search giant could deliver more targeted adverts.

"Given how Google has previously been fined heavily for monitoring browsing histories, it is not that surprising to learn about its alleged historic collection of data from iPhone users", he said, via email.

It is reported to be the first such mass legal claim of its kind in the UK. The group says all affected consumers are already part of the claim, but can opt out if they want.

The Safari workaround was apparently used on a number of devices, including the iPhone, during that period.

"I believe that what Google did was simply against the law".

It focuses on the revelation that, in 2011 and 2012, Google bypassed the privacy settings on Apple's iPhone Safari browser to track people's online activity.

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Google had sought to move the court case to the United States, but the UK Appeal court ruled in 2015 that the lawsuit could be filed in the UK.

Lloyd stated that after the action was lodged Google responded that he must "come to California" if he wanted to pursue any sort of legal action against the firm.

The group believes that Google placed ad-tracking cookies on the devices of a number of Safari users in certain months of 2011 and 2012. The tech giant is accused of breaching principles in the UK's data protection laws in a "violation of trust" against iPhone users.

It is expected to be heard in the UK's high court next year.

Google You Owe Us said the case is being financed to the tune of £15.5 million ($A27.75 million) by Therium, an outfit which funds litigation efforts in exchange for a share of any award.

Google however denies that it acted illegally, saying it has defended similar cases in the past.

But the group stressed that the case goes "beyond financial motivations" as it will "make an example of one of the world's biggest companies".