For a long time, it has felt as though the technology giants of this world were going to rule over us forever. From their glass paneled, eco-friendly offices in Silicon Valley, companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple have long controlled practically every element of our lives without us even knowing about it.
But that all changed recently when near enough every company that we rely upon on a daily basis were exposed for some questionable behavior.
The first scandal came in the form of Apple, who were left rather red-faced when it was claimed that they’d intentionally slowed down old iPhone models in order to encourage customers to upgrade their model with every new iPhone release.
Shortly before the 2018 New Year, Apple addressed the rumors in a statement.
“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize,” they wrote whilst simultaneously stating that the accusations against them weren’t remotely true. Despite proclaiming their innocence, Apple did make several changes to their processes as a result of the scandal.
Then, in March 2018, the future of Facebook looked bleak when the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal hit the headlines.
The incident saw the data of 87 million Facebook users be shared with Cambridge Analytica, which was then able to use this information to reportedly influence the 2015 campaign of Senator Ted Cruz and the 2016 Brexit vote. There is also a suggestion that the data was used to aid the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
Did the late Apple founder, Steve Jobs, know this was going to happen? He seemed to predict it…
Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was forced to apologize for the scandal whilst testifying before Congress. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here,” he said sincerely.
Now, it would appear that it’s Google’s turn to sit in the hot seat.
In a lawsuit launched by ‘Google You Owe Us’, a group representing iPhone users, it is claimed that the search engine giant took the personal information of 4.4 million people between 2011 and 2012.
They claim that Google achieved this “by bypassing default privacy settings on the iPhone’s Safari browser,” a move which has since been dubbed ‘the Safari Workaround’.
According to ‘Google You Owe Us’, “the workaround tracked internet browsing history, which Google then used to sell a targeted advertising service.”
“Google makes huge amounts of money from selling targeted advertising. In 2016, they earned $80 billion from advertising alone,” the group adds, highlighting just how valuable this data is.
‘Google You Owe Us’ are seeking as much as $4.29 billion which it then plans to split with the 4.4 million iPhone users who had their data breached – which could entitle each person to $1,000, although the potential damages are still to be determined.
Google are denying the allegations and plan to defend the lawsuit, which has been filed in a London court.
No doubt we shall hear the outcome over the coming months, so stay alert if you think that you may be one of the 4.4 million people who had your personal data taken by Google!