Google on Wednesday began a legal bid at Britain’s highest court to try to block a class action alleging that it illegally tracked millions of iPhone users.
The hearing at the Supreme Court will hear arguments for two days before judges decide whether the claim against the internet search giant should proceed.
The “Google You Owe Us” association, which is led by the former head of consumer rights group Which?, Richard Lloyd, is seeking at least £1 billion ($1.4 billion, 1.1 billion euros) to compensate four million users in England and Wales.
In October 2018, the High Court dismissed the case but the Court of Appeal overturned the decision in October 2019, allowing it to proceed. Google has appealed against the decision, hoping to get the case dismissed on the grounds the claimants have shown insufficient evidence users were adversely affected.
The association accuses Google of circumventing iPhone security options and collecting personal data between August 2011 and February 2012 using the Safari browser.
Information about users’ social or ethnic origin, health, political views, sexual preferences or shopping habits was collected, according to the complaint, which alleges the information was then compiled and offered to advertisers.
“Google illegally misused the data of millions of iPhone users without consent and we want to hold them to account,” Lloyd said in a statement before the hearing.
Google has said the events that happened 10 years ago were responded to at the time.
“Google You Owe Us” has said the door was opened to its complaint following the confidential settlement of a similar case in 2015 which was brought by three individuals.