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Google facing mass legal action by UK group over cookies

The group wants at least £1bn compensation for an estimated 5.4 million iPhone users.

google
PA

Google is facing a mass legal action by a UK campaign group which alleges the tech giant unlawfully collected information from Apple's iPhone handsets, it is reported.

The group, led by former Which director Richard Lloyd, aims to land at least £1 billion in compensation for an estimated 5.4 million iPhone users, The Times reports.

The claim centres around allegations that between June 2011 and February 2012 Google placed cookies - small text files which give websites a way to track a user's preferences and deliver personalised advertisements - in iPhones, to fool the devices into releasing data from Safari, Apple's web browser.

Through this action, we will send a strong message to Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley that we're not afraid to fight back if our laws are broken. In all my years speaking up for consumers, I've rarely seen such a massive abuse of trust where so many people have no way to seek redress on their own.
Richard Lloyd speaking to The Times

It is reported to be the first such mass legal claim of its kind in the UK.

A spokesman for Google told the BBC: "This is not new - we have defended similar cases before. We don't believe it has any merit and we will contest it."

Apple
PA

In August 2012 Google agreed to pay a civil penalty of $22.5 million (£15.1 million) to settle charges, brought by the United States Federal Trade Commission, that it misrepresented to users of the Safari browser that it would not place tracking cookies or serve targeted advertisements to those users.

The group lodging the claim in the UK - called Google You Owe Us - expects the case to start next year.

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