The day is finally here! And what a day it is. Five justices of the Supreme Court unanimously allowed Google's appeal and restored the order made by Mr Justice Warby a little over three years ago refusing permission to serve proceedings on the USA-based defendant.
In other words, the former Which? director’s claim – the UK’s first ‘opt-out’ data class action – brought by him as the representative claimant on behalf of a class of more than 4 million UK iPhone users whose internet activities were allegedly secretly tracked by Google, is now over.
And with the bell ringing in the end of this class, organisations up and down the country will doubtless be relieved given that the potential liability faced by Google, which it estimated to be in the £ billions, made the ICO’s £20 million BA fine – its biggest to date – look like chump change. Other defendants against whom representative proceedings had been brought using a similar M.O., but then stayed pending the outcome of this appeal, on matters ranging from data breaches to use of children’s data and cookies, will share in that relief … for now, at least.
Our team of data and privacy experts will be providing further commentary on the case and its implications in the coming days. We will also be discussing it at our next In House Data Club on 25 November at 9.30am so if you’d like to join us please contact our events team at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space.
“What limits the scope for claiming damages in representative proceedings is the compensatory principle on which damages for a civil wrong are awarded with the object of putting the claimant - as an individual - in the same position, as best money can do it, as if the wrong had not occurred.”