DEEPMIND WINS CASE ON DATA PROTECTION
In a recent ruling, the High Court has dismissed a representative claim against Google subsidiary DeepMind brought on behalf of 1.6 million individuals whose medical records were used to develop an app. The claim alleged misuse of private information due to the processing of data by the Royal Free hospital in London for the app called Streams. The Information Commissioner’s Office had previously found that the data processing did not comply with the Data Protection Act of 1998.
See full court judgement Prismall v Google UK & Anor,
The court ruled that the claim failed to meet the “same interest” requirement outlined in civil procedure rules. The judge, Mrs Justice Heather Williams, stated that it was difficult to identify a viable claim for class members based on common circumstances. The claimant, Andrew Prismall, sought to bring the action on the grounds of misuse of private information, bypassing the block imposed by the Supreme Court’s Lloyd v Google ruling in 2021, which required claimants to establish individual damage or distress.
The judge found that each member of the claimant class did not have a realistic expectation of privacy regarding their medical records. The information processed was limited and of an anodyne nature. The alleged interference with the data was limited to its transfer and secure storage, causing no impact other than the loss of control itself.
Consequently, the court ruled that the claim could not succeed, even on the basis of minimum damages. The judge rejected the argument that the claim should proceed due to areas of evidential uncertainty, stating that such uncertainty did not provide a compelling reason for the claim to proceed.
The ruling marks a setback for the representative claim against DeepMind and highlights the challenges in pursuing collective actions based on differing circumstances and expectations of privacy.
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For further reading please see our page: Data Protection Solicitors and Compensation.