If you used an iPhone in the United Kingdom between June 1, 2011, and Feb. 15, 2012, and lived in England or Wales earlier this year, you might be in line for some money from search engine giant Google.
A consumer advocate in the U.K. has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming it circumvented privacy protections in Apple’s Safari browser, Fortune reported.
The suit claimed that by bypassing the privacy protections, Google collected information from users.
Richard Lloyd, who was an adviser to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009-10, organized the suit. Lloyd’s group, “Google, You Owe Us,” is suing on behalf of all iPhone users in the U.K. during the 2011-12 time period. The group claimed Google used a bypass called a “Safari Workaround” and sold personal data it collected from 5.5 million iPhone users when it did so.
Anyone who meets the criteria will be automatically included in the suit. If Lloyd wins the case, individuals will need to register to collect any cash.
But meeting all the criteria to win money from Lloyd’s suit isn’t easy. According to Forbes:
“To qualify for a payout if he wins, people have to have used Safari during the period with the default security settings, and not opted out of Google’s tracking within Google’s own systems. They also have to have been resident in England and Wales on 31 May this year.”
The search engine giant has already forked over millions of dollars to settle similar suits in the United States.
In 2013, Google reportedly settled out of court for $17 million and paid a $22.5 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission after the agency determined that Google gave a false account of how it tracked Safari users.
Lloyd’s case is thought to be the first of its kind in the U.K., and the consumer advocate hopes to win 1 billion British pounds, which is about $1.35 billion.
Lloyd believes large companies like Google should be held accountable when they break the law.
“When we use our phones, we trust that big companies like Google are using our data in a way that is fair and lawful,” his consumer-advocate website said.
Lloyd wants Google to know that it is not so big that it can get away with deceptive practices.
“Together, we can show the world’s biggest companies are not above the law,” the site said.
The case is expected to be heard in 2018.
The multinational technology company claimed the case had no merit, and will contest it, Fortune reported.
That’s not surprising.
If this case is successful, it could be a step in the right direction to help rein in out-of-control organizations like Google that are propped up and protected by subsidies and laws.