In one of the most significant privacy law judgments of the year the UK Supreme Court considered whether a class action for breach of s4(4) Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA”) could be brought against Google of its obligations as a data controller for its application of the “Safari Workaround”. The claim for compensation was made under s.13 DPA 1998.
The amount claimed per person advanced in the letter of claim was £750. Collectively, with the number of people impacted by the processing, the potential liability of Google was estimated to exceed £3bn.
“The claim alleges that, for several months in late 2011 and early 2012,Lord Leggatt at p.1
Google secretly tracked the internet activity of millions of Apple iPhone users and used the data collected in this way for commercial purposes without the users’ knowledge or consent.”
The class action claim was brought under rule 19.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
Lord Leggatt handed down the unanimous judgement in favour of the appellant Google LLC:
“the claim has no real prospect ofAt p.159
success. That in turn is because, in the way the claim has been framed in order to try to bring it as a representative action, the claimant seeks damages under section 13 of the DPA 1998 for each individual member of the represented class without attempting to show that any wrongful use was made by Google of personal data relating to that
individual or that the individual suffered any material damage or distress as a result of a breach of the requirements of the Act by Google.”
It should be noted that the claim was brought under the Data Protection Act 1998 and not under the GDPR.