The UK Supreme Court has blocked a class action lawsuit against Google which demanded £750 per person for a few million individuals. The suit was bought over the stealthy collection of the web browsing histories of people who owned iPhones.

From the BBC article:

In his judgement, Lord Leggatt said [...]

"The claimant seeks damages... for each individual member of the represented class without attempting to show that any wrongful use was made by Google of personal data relating to that individual or that the individual suffered any material damage or distress as a result of a breach," it read.

"Without proof of these matters, a claim for damages cannot succeed."

But he added that the case had a "real chance of success" if pursued by the claimant as an individual, instead of as a mass action.

So, suppose that Mr. Joseph Bloggs owned an iPhone at the time and believes that his data was hoovered up by Google. Bloggs is not anyone famous. The information from his web history probably includes some potentially embarrassing items (mostly vanilla porn and medical searches for common illnesses), but nothing out of the ordinary.

Would Bloggs have a cause of action? Could he take his claim to the Small Claims track of the County Court? What evidence would he need to gather, and how could he get it?

1 Answer 1


He would need to prove that Google acted wrongly and he suffered more than nominal damage or distress as a result

The Mr Bloggs in your example would have appeared to not have suffered a loss for which Google is liable. It’s not enough that someone fails to stop at the stop sign - they have to hit your car before you have a cause of action.

It’s easy to imagine scenarios where someone might have suffered damage and they would have grounds to sue. Such a person would collect evidence of their damage and, through discovery, of Google’s wrongdoing.

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