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Apple pays $1K to Korean iPhone user over location data as class-action suit looms

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
After Apple made its first payment related to a controversy over location data stored on the iPhone to a Korean lawyer last month, the company now faces the threat of a class-action lawsuit over the issue.

The Telegraph reported Thursday that Apple Korea was ordered in May to pay 1 million won ($946) to lawyer and iPhone user Kim Hyung-Souk. According to Kim's law firm, Mirae Law, Apple made the payment last month.

The firm now says it is in the midst of preparing a class-action lawsuit against the iPhone maker, alleging that Apple collected location data without users' consent.

According to the report, the firm set up a website for customers interested in joining the litigation was overwhelmed by traffic, though the traffic overwhelmed the site's servers, forcing it to move to a new location.

"Finally. The real action against Apple. Now available here," the site reads. According to Yonhap News Agency, about 300 people have signed up on the site, which launched Thursday.



In April, security researchers raised concerns over a database file found in iOS 4 that appeared to store users' location information. A week later, Apple responded to the allegations, saying the database file is actually "a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location." The company then issued a fix to a bug that allowed the file to preserve location information for up to a year.

Within days of the first reports on the controversial database file, Apple was hit with a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. In May, two suits were filed against Apple over the alleged practice of sending an iPhone's UDID and location information to advertisers.

Apple also faced federal scrutiny over the issue. The company testified before the U.S. Senate, reiterating its commitment to consumer privacy. Regulatory officials from Korea and Europe also investigated Apple in response to the report.

However, the iPhone maker is not alone in its legal woes in Korea. In May, Korean police raided Google's offices on suspicions that the search giant had collected unauthorized personal data.
post #2 of 27
If one recalls correctly, Korea has different privacy laws for collecting location data than what exists in all other nations currently having access with an iOS Device.

Let them class action all they want. They had better work at changing laws in the US Congress before attempting to get blood out of a turnip. They won't get it out of Apple.
post #3 of 27
Why would the author round up to $1K ($1000), and not just put the actual amount, especially when the amount in the native currency is one million, not one thousand? Laziness? Bizarro.
post #4 of 27
racist post removed
post #5 of 27
This has nothing to do with the Samsung stoush of course. Nothing at all.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The Telegraph reported Thursday that Apple Korea was ordered in May to pay 1 million won ($946) to lawyer and iPhone user Kim Hyung-Souk. According to Kim's law firm, Mirae Law, Apple made the payment last month.

Wonder if that'll cover all his legal expenses.
post #7 of 27
Cheaper than the entry level air, not bad!
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Hawkeye_ View Post

racist post removed

The cultural thing here is your overt racism. Shame on you.
post #9 of 27
There is something very strange going on here.
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post #10 of 27
Location data, as in where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going? Kind of like a GPS system - if this is the case, how in hell can he sue, and why in hell did Apple pay him off?

Now, if this is the same thing, I'll bet that lawyer, would be REAL happy, had he had a bad accident, gone over a cliff, and was only found, because his iPhone tracked his location.

Of course if the "Location issue" is in reference to where he is searching, and for what, then I still don't get it. Hell this site, (AppleInsider) puts ad's up that Puritan to web site, I've visited, things I'm looking for, and places I've been.

Amazon knows more about me and my buying habits then I do can I sue them over this?

I haven't stayed up on the issue, break it down better for me please.

Skip

OK, so should go out and purchase an iPhone, if I want in on the action, and a piece of this pie (which will be what, a new software download that will stop this action. And what about all the other phone companies doing the same thing. What, it's not as big an issue, because they haven't got more money then God (or Bill gates).
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

Location data, as in where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going? Kind of like a GPS system - if this is the case, how in hell can he sue, and why in hell did Apple pay him off?

Now, if this is the same thing, I'll bet that lawyer, would be REAL happy, had he had a bad accident, gone over a cliff, and was only found, because his iPhone tracked his location.

Of course if the "Location issue" is in reference to where he is searching, and for what, then I still don't get it. Hell this site, (AppleInsider) puts ad's up that Puritan to web site, I've visited, things I'm looking for, and places I've been.

Amazon knows more about me and my buying habits then I do can I sue them over this?

I haven't stayed up on the issue, break it down better for me please.

Skip

OK, so should go out and purchase an iPhone, if I want in on the action, and a piece of this pie (which will be what, a new software download that will stop this action. And what about all the other phone companies doing the same thing. What, it's not as big an issue, because they haven't got more money then God (or Bill gates).

I agree, it all very strange why Apple paid. On the tracking even my Garmin shows exactly where I have been on past trips, why is no one suing Garmin?
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post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

why in hell did Apple pay him off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I agree, it all very strange why Apple paid.

I think you guys missed something important:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

Apple Korea was ordered in May to pay 1 million won

It would seem that this was a legal judgement against Apple and it's therefore a forgone conclusion that Apple will lose the class-action suit in Korea.
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post #13 of 27
There is no 'privacy' with any network connected device. You can be found and always assume you are being monitored. Not that Anyone is looking at you. But they can.

Get over it.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

It would seem that this was a legal judgement against Apple and it's therefore a forgone conclusion that Apple will lose the class-action suit in Korea.

If it's a forgone conclusion that Apple will lose that suit, then it's also a forgone conclusion that Google will ,since Android's tracking was at least as bad. There are twice as many Android handsets as iPhones in Korea

Edit: Interesting question is, who will get sued for Android in Korea, Google or the OEMs? I predict it's the OEMs.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

Location data, as in where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going? Kind of like a GPS system - if this is the case, how in hell can he sue, and why in hell did Apple pay him off?

Despite the fact that wasn't a true 'tracking' and no one but your phone and your computer could access the data, this was in Korea where the laws are different than the US. Under their laws, this caching of hotspots could be illegal

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I agree, it all very strange why Apple paid. On the tracking even my Garmin shows exactly where I have been on past trips, why is no one suing Garmin?

Most GPS devices advertise that storing of old trips as a feature so you know about it. Unlike this cache which wasn't blatantly told until some 'security' expert found it and spread it around. The gist of the reaction is basically so what if Apple's not recording your devices ID and the gps etc, so what if the only way to get the info is from your iphone or your computer, they should have told people the cache exists.

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

It would seem that this was a legal judgement against Apple and it's therefore a forgone conclusion that Apple will lose the class-action suit in Korea.

Maybe, maybe not. There could be a number of legal strategies in play.

Apple always had the option to appeal rather than pay, so saying 'it was a court order' doesn't really answer the question.

One thing for sure - Apple has a top notch legal team. I'm sure that they considered their options before sending out a check for $1 K.

For example - what if the order was to pay the plaintiff $10 plus legal expenses. Agreeing to that would be a slam dunk win for Apple. Even if there were a hundred thousand class action plaintiffs, they'd get $10 each - and Apple could minimize the legal expense portion by simply agreeing to pay each plaintiff their $10.

Obviously, I don't know what the order said, but if Apple agreed to it without appealing, there must have been some reason.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #17 of 27
On a semi-related note, sometimes loss of privacy makes for great art

http://www.tuaw.com/2011/07/15/watch...around-europe/
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Hawkeye_ View Post

racist post removed

Racist. Marked.

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post #19 of 27
If this turns into a massive class-action suit in Korea for Korean owners of iDevices, maybe Apple will simply shut down all commercial and consumer trade in Korea. No more iDevices sold, no more manufacturing contracts, no more Apple there. The threat of such suits plus the climate engendered by the likes of Samsung make doing business there untenable for Apple.

And that's too bad as apparently the Apple brand is well-known and well-respected by consumers there. It just takes one stupid greedy lawyer to upset the apple cart for everyone else.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecphorizer View Post

If this turns into a massive class-action suit in Korea for Korean owners of iDevices, maybe Apple will simply shut down all commercial and consumer trade in Korea. No more iDevices sold, no more manufacturing contracts, no more Apple there. The threat of such suits plus the climate engendered by the likes of Samsung make doing business there untenable for Apple.

And that's too bad as apparently the Apple brand is well-known and well-respected by consumers there. It just takes one stupid greedy lawyer to upset the apple cart for everyone else.

I think Apple will just take their licks on this one. It's entirely plausible that as Korean law stands they did accidentally infringe, so they'll settle the class action suit at a couple hundred dollars per phone and then laugh when Samsung, LG and HTC get sued for the same amount.

Apple likes to be a good corporate citizen, look at the business in Taiwan, where they've done as required and obeyed the silly local consumer laws. They'll seek to minimize the expense but they'll almost certainly settle a class action suite and just keep on keeping on.
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Apple likes to be a good corporate citizen.

True dat.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

I think Apple will just take their licks on this one. It's entirely plausible that as Korean law stands they did accidentally infringe, so they'll settle the class action suit at a couple hundred dollars per phone and then laugh when Samsung, LG and HTC get sued for the same amount.

Apple likes to be a good corporate citizen, look at the business in Taiwan, where they've done as required and obeyed the silly local consumer laws. They'll seek to minimize the expense but they'll almost certainly settle a class action suite and just keep on keeping on.

Silly to us maybe....
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

I think Apple will just take their licks on this one. It's entirely plausible that as Korean law stands they did accidentally infringe, so they'll settle the class action suit at a couple hundred dollars per phone and then laugh when Samsung, LG and HTC get sued for the same amount.

Apple likes to be a good corporate citizen, look at the business in Taiwan, where they've done as required and obeyed the silly local consumer laws. They'll seek to minimize the expense but they'll almost certainly settle a class action suite and just keep on keeping on.

I'd suspect nearly all international corporations avoid fracturing their policies due to local laws and reg's as much as possible. And nearly all probably try to ignore some of those regional requirements until pushed. For instance the EU has a regulation concerning electronic devices (Product Warranty Directive / 1999/44/EC) that Apple would prefer not to deal with as it would materially affect the sale of their Applecare policy. Italy, for instance, recently started an investigation into Apple's compliance. In practical terms the EU rule effectively extends the hardware warranty on your new electronic device (ie iPad, iPhone etc) to two years, negating most of the value in the Apple extended warranty in year 2. But unless you purchase the AppleCare policy, owner's report Apple claims they don't have an obligation to repair/replace your device if found to be defective after the standard one-year warranty.

I imagine the speed of compliance with local laws has a direct correlation with the cost to a company to be a "good corporate citizen", no matter what your line of business.
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post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I imagine the speed of compliance with local laws has a direct correlation with the cost to a company to be a "good corporate citizen", no matter what your line of business.

Sure, it certainly has a cost, and sure Apple isn't perfect, but the whole 'Apple exceptionalism' argument really doesn't apply in this case. Apple doesn't get into pissing fights with governments, Google does. Sometimes that's actually one of Google's virtues - but in this instance it will probably mean that Apple will be far less aggressive in handling the SKorea situation than some Apple die-hards might believe.

That EU directive isn't in force across all of Europe by the way, only some member states have ratified it. The UK at least has not, to my knowledge.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scaramanga89 View Post

Silly to us maybe....

7 day return policy on software is just silly, sorry. LIkewise 7 day return on a book would turn bookstores into lending libraries.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Sure, it certainly has a cost, and sure Apple isn't perfect, but the whole 'Apple exceptionalism' argument really doesn't apply in this case. Apple doesn't get into pissing fights with governments, Google does. Sometimes that's actually one of Google's virtues - but in this instance it will probably mean that Apple will be far less aggressive in handling the SKorea situation than some Apple die-hards might believe.

That EU directive isn't in force across all of Europe by the way, only some member states have ratified it. The UK at least has not, to my knowledge.

I wasn't singling out Apple at all, but simply staying within the context of the comment. As I mentioned, I'm pretty confident saying that nearly all multinational companies do what they can to avoid having different policies and procedures across different markets, and that the cost to do so probably comes into play. I wouldn't be surprised to find that it's sometimes decided it's better for a company's bottom line to pay a fine than comply with some odd regulation.

EDIT: You are correct that the UK consider's their "fit for purpose" rules to be stronger, and thus haven't ratified the EU directive. But in some cases it would really benefit even UK consumers to at least push for the protections afforded by the EU's PWD 1999/44/EC. There's a very good explanation of what it is and how it can assist a consumer with device issues outside a manufacturer's typical one year or less warranty term here:
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/b...#StartComments
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post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I wouldn't be surprised to find that it's sometimes decided it's better for a company's bottom line to pay a fine than comply with some odd regulation.

If you don't comply they just keep fining you, eventually it adds up.

Quote:
EDIT: You are correct that the UK consider's their "fit for purpose" rules to be stronger, and thus haven't ratified the EU directive. But in some cases it would really benefit even UK consumers to at least push for the protections afforded by the EU's PWD 1999/44/EC. There's a very good explanation of what it is and how it can assist a consumer with device issues outside a manufacturer's typical one year or less warranty term here:
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/b...#StartComments

We tend to steer clear of EU regs for as long as possible - especially as they can't even fine us most of the time
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