The Court of Appeal has held that a class action against Google can proceed. The claim was brought in respect of Google’s alleged unlawful monitoring of iPhone users without their consent through the use of third party cookies between 2011-2012. Google has already settled regulatory and consumer-led actions in the US in respect of this activity.
The Court of Appeal held:
- Individuals whose data has been used unlawfully may recover damage for loss of control or loss of autonomy over their personal data, even where they have no proof of financial loss or distress.
- The claim could proceed on behalf of the estimated four million users in England and Wales who were affected by Google’s actions, because they are all victims of the same alleged wrong, and have sustained the same type of loss.
Jane Ashford-Thom, Associate at Harbottle & Lewis, said: “This decision could open the floodgates for mass data breach claims in England and Wales, along similar lines to the class action lawsuits which are a hallmark of consumer activism in the US.”