Google is facing a mass claim for compensation following allegations it collected data from more than 4 million iPhone users, as the London Court of Appeal reopened a legal case against the internet giant.

The court overruled a previous decision in 2018, which stopped litigation against the company over the issue, deciding Google’s alleged role in collection of data hadn’t caused damage.

However, the case will now go ahead. Claimants said Google bypassed privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser and had gained access to iPhone users’ browsing data between June 2011 and February 2012.

The lead lawyer on the case told Reuters the decision made by the Court of Appeal had “confirmed our view that representative actions are essential for holding corporate giants to account”.

The representative of the mass claim group Richard Lloyd said the ruling “sent a very clear message to Google and other large tech companies: You are not above the law”.

He added that Google can be “held to account in this country for misusing people’s personal data, and groups of consumers can together ask the courts for redress when firms profit unlawfully from ‘repeated and widespread’ violations of our data protection rights”.

A Google spokeswoman told the media outlet that the case related to “events that took place nearly a decade ago and that we addressed at the time. We believe it has no merit and should be dismissed”.

The issue adds to Google’s recent woes. In September a coalition of 50 US attorney generals launched a probe into Google’s business practices to determine whether it violated competition law. The US Department of Justice has also reportedly opened an investigation in July into Google and other big tech companies’ engagement in practices which stifle competition and innovation.