A UK court dismissed a mass compensation claim against Google for alleged illegal tracking of data of more than 4 million iPhone users, after finding no evidence linking to damages caused by the tech giant’s practices.

In the ruling, Justice of the Supreme Court Lord Leggatt explained the decision, judging the claim failed to prove “what unlawful processing” by Google of personal data relating to individuals had occurred, such as financial loss or mental distress.

The judge noted the claimant sought damages for every 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” of the law.

Going forward, the judge said damages can be claimed if they can be calculated on a basis that is common to all represented users.

BBC News reported Lord Leggatt as saying the legal action had a chance to succeed if it was pursued by an individual claimant rather than a mass action.

The London Court of Appeal reopened the legal case in 2019 after a previous decision from 2018 halted an earlier attempt to sue Google.

The claimant’s main argument was that the tech company gained access to data about surfing behaviour of users on Apple’s Safari browser between June 2011 and February 2012.