United Kingdom Supreme Court Blocks Multi-Billion Dollar Class Action Suit Against Google for Alleged Data Misappropriation

The Robins Kaplan Privacy Pulse

November 15, 2021

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court, its highest court, blocked a bid for a $4.3 billion class action against Google over claims the company violated the country’s Data Protection Act (DPA). The claimants alleged that Google misused the data of millions of iPhone users under the DPA by tracking user internet usage even when users were assured in notices that they would be opted out of such tracking by default. The country’s supreme court unanimous decision held that the plaintiffs failed to show sufficient damages under the DPA and that it was “unsustainable” to permit the class action without plaintiffs having to prove financial loss or mental distress.

The ruling marks an important U.K. legal precedent for future class-action suits under the DPA and may be referenced by other jurisdictions with similar DPA statutes. It also highlights the ongoing evolution of privacy law in European markets and the debate concerning the legal thresholds plaintiffs must meet to show damages as the result of data misappropriation or breach.

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