In the digital age, there are a few universal truths: nothing is ever deleted from the internet, and nothing is truly private. Even with the strictest security settings, every available tech tool, and the best of intentions, someone out there can access your information or your content.

But as Google is learning the hard way, that doesn’t mean our connected lives are just a free-for-all, ripe for the picking. A new lawsuit filed on behalf of UK consumers, similar to one that Google already settled in the US, seeks damages for unlawful tracking of users’ activity through cookies. The backdoor that allowed Google to gather data on users’ internet use affected a wide variety of consumers, but predominantly iPhone users, hence the designation that this is specifically Safari-based.

Veteran consumer rights campaigner Richard Lloyd, alleges Google bypassed the default privacy settings on Apple iPhones and succeeded in tracking the online behaviour of people using the Safari browser.

Veteran consumer rights campaigner, Richard Lloyd, alleges Google bypassed the default privacy settings on iPhones and tracked Safari browsing.


This isn’t a matter in which Google allegedly sneaked in some obscure wording in the terms and conditions that gave them access to users’ behavior. Instead, the suit offers that the tech company actually bypassed security measures on users’ phones that the consumers thought were readily in place and protecting them.

Breach of trust

Attorneys for the numerous consumers affected by the breach of trust anticipate a significant payout on their behalf. The accusation is that Google has violated consumer privacy and trust in a way that not many other companies have even attempted, let alone gotten away with, only this time there’s no excuse of “public safety” or “anti-terrorism” efforts to hide behind. Instead, the company apparently tracked consumers’ internet use without authorization in order to develop better predictive advertising strategies which it in turn sold to its clients.

Wasn’t us

For its part, Google denies all wrongdoing and says it will fight these allegations next spring in court, just as it has done in the past. In the interest of both consumer privacy and oversized corporate example setting, one can only hope it goes as well for the tech giant as it did in the US. The Federal Trade Commission brought suit against Google and collected a $22 million payday for affected consumers.