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Search Engine maestro Google is in hot water over allegations of violating personal data privacy settings on iPhones. Google You Owe Us, a public rights campaigning group, has brought a class action lawsuit against Google for a protocol that results in Apple’s Safari browser in disclosing personal data belonging to iPhone users.

This consumer rights group was set up when founders realized that this work-around by Google was manipulating Apple’s built-in security settings to install cookies for Google’s own DoubleClick advertising network. It is believed that close to 5.4 million iPhone users from England and Wales were unwittingly affected by this data breach in the period from June 2011 to February 2012.

The installation of Google’s DoubleClick advertising network enables Google to access user information as well as send tailored advertisements. This access took place despite the user opting for cookies to be blocked as a default setting.

The press release by the Google You Owe Us group states that this Safari protocol violated the trust of the iPhone users and was an illegal act. Leading the charge for justice is the former head of a consumer advocacy group, Richard Lloyd. His legal counsel is a team from the Mischon de Reya law firm. In a written statement Lloyd asserted that Google’s actions were illegal in every sense of the word and that Silicon Valley needs to respect and understand that the rights of technology users exist and are indisputable. He is adamant that Google’s technological snafu has negatively affected millions of iPhone users and they must be held accountable.

If an individual can prove that they were iPhone owners in the time period from June 2011 to February 2012, they could possibly be eligible to receive over $200 in the form of compensation from Google. Rough calculations show that if all possible iPhone users in England and Wales from that particular time ask for their share, Google’s bill could go up past $1 billion.

This will not be the first time Google is being taken to task for the shady Safari workaround. Back in 2012, Google was made to pay $22.5 million in penalties to the US Federal Trade Commission. The year after that, Google paid up a $17 million in settlement charges to the District of Columbia and 37 states across the U.S.A.

However, this particular lawsuit has the potential of being significantly more damaging for the technology giant. Google has yet to pay such a hefty sum in penalties and the allegation itself is ruining Google’s precarious position on respecting user’s rights and data privacy laws. Google’s defense maintains that the case is not strong, but there are reports that their legal team has been working to prevent this action from reaching the courts for years.

If you believe you may have been one of the iPhone users whose data was accessed by Google’s advertising network, you can find out more at the Google You Owe Us official website.

Source: iDrop News