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27K South Koreans sue Apple for $26M over iPhone privacy concerns

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Apple has been sued by a group of about 27,000 South Koreans seeking $26 million in compensation for what they feel are privacy violations related to the iPhone's location services.

Every person in the suit seeks to claim $932 U.S., or 1 million won, in damages, according to Reuters. The suit is related to a bug previously found in the iPhone operating system that stored an extensive database of location coordinates -- data that was not shared with anyone.

The plaintiffs in the suit seek the same 1 million won payout earned by lawyer and iPhone user Kim Hyung-Souk earlier this year. That same lawyer has returned with the latest lawsuit, and is representing the 27,000 complainants.

Speaking about the latest legal threat against Apple, the attorney said he and the plaintiffs have targeted the South Korean unit of the iPhone maker to "protect privacy" rights.

Kim's law firm, Mirae Law, set up a website back in July to promote their class-action lawsuit. "Finally. The real action against Apple. Now available here," the site reads.

Lawsuits related to the iPhone location database controversy that cropped up earlier this year are not new. But the size of the latest South Korean filing, in terms of its class-action status and the payout sought, is by far the largest thus far.



The location database file found in iOS 4 gained attention in April when it was highlighted by a pair of researchers. They found that location data, used to help an iPhone or 3G iPad determine a user's location more quickly, was saved on the device indefinitely.

Apple later spoke out on the issue and explained that the file is a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers. Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave an interview on the controversy, and said that people "jumped to wrong conclusions" about the database file.

As for the length of time the location data was saved in the file, Apple admitted a bug in its iOS software preserved the information for longer than necessary. The issue was addressed with the release of iOS 4.3.3 in May, which reduced the size of the cache file, ensures it is no longer backed up to iTunes, and deletes the file when iOS Location Services are turned off.
post #2 of 50
Don't you have to have damages or be damaged to sue? I say turn off the phones, just to be sure, and wait for the apology from the 27K users. They could setup a special website for this.

No good deed goes unpunished.
post #3 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jobs

932 dollars? Each? I'll write them a CHECK.

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post #4 of 50
I knew settling on the original case would open up a can of worms.
post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Don't you have to have damages or be damaged to sue?


We don't know anything about the law in SK. Seemingly, they allow class-action lawsuits, but the underlying cause of action is based on their local statutes.

It may well be that no monetary damages need be proven in privacy cases, and that this is some sort of per se violation. We just don't know, and the article tells us nothing about the underlying merits of the case.
post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

932 dollars? Each? I'll write them a CHECK.


You beat me to it. I remember this exact conversation when the first case came up about 2 weeks ago. 27k x 932 is a bit more.

Not that I do not think Steve couldn't cash up though...


Oooh ... silly thing though. They are not tracking anyone are they? Apple I mean?
post #7 of 50
Apple should offer to humbly exit entirely from South Korea, sales of all Apple products as well as use of any South Korean manufacturing .. everything... in if this case is taken any further or Apple lose the case.

I suspect quite a few companies and end users might not agree with their fellow countrymen's suit and lean on them to 'Think Different.'
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post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumme-totte View Post

They are not tracking anyone are they? Apple I mean?

They weren't tracking anyone to BEGIN WITH. This is people whining about crap to get money. There are absolutely no damages.

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post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They weren't tracking anyone to BEGIN WITH. This is people whining about crap to get money. There are absolutely no damages.

That's been my exact point when talking to people about this. Apple makes _far_ more money selling real products than what they could make from mining and selling location data. Why would they even bother and risk these kinds of lawsuits?

And yet people will happily let Google track everything they do in their web browser... data which is worth a lot more money than simple location data.
 
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post #10 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

That's been my exact point when talking to people about this. Apple makes _far_ more money selling real products than what they could make from mining and selling location data. Why would they even bother and risk these kinds of lawsuits?

And yet people will happily let Google track everything they do in their web browser... data which is worth a lot more money than simple location data.

On your last point ... this is only getting worse too. This past weekend I googled a few products and the next day I was inundated with spam on those exact product types. I had not entered my e-mail at any time on any web site I visited! I am seriously thinking of dumping Google but alas for what? I really wish Apple would get into search!
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post #11 of 50
Yes, why worry about actual damages, or even actual harm, when you can work the legal system to get money from someone else?

Of course, this case has lawyers involved, which apparently somehow differentiates it morally from highway robbery and bank robbery, at least in the eyes of this extremely sad group of South Koreans: "but officer, the rich man tripped and could have scuffed my leg as he fell, so I had no choice but to lift his wallet at the earliest opportunity!"
post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I am seriously thinking of dumping Google but alas for what?

Well, there's Bing, which is stolen Google results without all the spam.

Quote:
I really wish Apple would get into search!

Steve would never be so underhanded as to do that.

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post #13 of 50
Apple has got off lightly with this one. There are a couple of million iPhone users in SK that could well have joined the class action. In fact I'm surprised they didn't as it seems like easy money; enough to basically get your iPhone for free. Well done to them for not gold digging.
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


That's more than one month's salary for a LOT of iPhone users. A majority of university grads to 30 year olds get 860 000 Won, or like 750 USD per month and aren't even able to move out of their parents' houses.

So, 1 million Won is a big payout for them. I'd have sold my shirt to get one like it when I worked in SK.

The funny thing is that Koreans rant about privacy, but just to post on a forum like this in Korea, you have to enter your Citizenship card into the website's database. Ditto for grocery point cards and half a dozen major services.

Koreans are probably the most watched people among non-regime developed countries, and for some reason, they can complain about Apple. They cannot complain in the same way about Korean companies.
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post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Grain of Salt View Post

Apple has got off lightly with this one.

A couple thousand people illegally asking for money rather than a couple million. Yep.

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post #16 of 50
Too many people are pissed off about the Samsung lawsuit!
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post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Apple should offer to humbly exit entirely from South Korea, sales of all Apple products as well as use of any South Korean manufacturing .. everything... in if this case is taken any further or Apple lose the case.

I suspect quite a few companies and end users might not agree with their fellow countrymen's suit and lean on them to 'Think Different.'

yes, i agree. if apple needs to pay off these people, they can just cut their order to samsung to save up the $26M they need to give. or they could just pull out of south korea altogether.
post #18 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They weren't tracking anyone to BEGIN WITH. This is people whining about crap to get money. There are absolutely no damages.

Of course it's people whining about nothing to get money. It does, however, prove that lawyers outside of the U.S. can also be low-life, scum-sucking, slime balls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

That's been my exact point when talking to people about this. Apple makes _far_ more money selling real products than what they could make from mining and selling location data. Why would they even bother and risk these kinds of lawsuits?

And yet people will happily let Google track everything they do in their web browser... data which is worth a lot more money than simple location data.

Exactly. It really amazes me how much people will accept simply because Google's slogan is "do no evil". There is NO bigger threat to our privacy than Google. No one even comes close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

On your last point ... this is only getting worse too. This past weekend I googled a few products and the next day I was inundated with spam on those exact product types. I had not entered my e-mail at any time on any web site I visited! I am seriously thinking of dumping Google but alas for what? I really wish Apple would get into search!

I use Yahoo! If I don't get what I need, I'll go ahead and use Google, but 99% of the time, Yahoo! works fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Grain of Salt View Post

Apple has got off lightly with this one. There are a couple of million iPhone users in SK that could well have joined the class action. In fact I'm surprised they didn't as it seems like easy money; enough to basically get your iPhone for free. Well done to them for not gold digging.

Not gold digging? They were not harmed in any way, nor was their location tracked per se. Rather, the system kept the location of cell towers that the person was within a few miles of. AND, unless they gave their phone to someone who knew how to access the information, none of the information was ever released to anyone.

And, by simply updating to 4.3.3 (at no charge), the problem goes away for the future.

Gold diggers, indeed.
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post #19 of 50
I suppose only lawyers can cook up phony claims like that, and I thought the US had the lead in those. I suppose others have been "enlightened" now! Maybe they can also sue apple for making iPhones addictive and Rovio for making them fat because they play angry birds all day.
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by rp2011 View Post

I knew settling on the original case would open up a can of worms.

I think that given the laws in South Korea, the can was already opened. Apple likely settled rather than risk that the courts would reward even more.

$27 Million is nothing to Apple. Especially if there is any way they can legally nix all other suits in the bud so that this is it for South Korea. And I suspect there is a way and they were waiting for this to happen so they could use it.

As for other countries, different laws mean that the caching alone may not be in violation of anything so no worries there. Unless someone can find a smoking gun that in fact the data was going somewhere after all. And if Apple made a bold face lie about that then they deserve the coals they will be collectively raked over.
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

That's more than one month's salary for a LOT of iPhone users. A majority of university grads to 30 year olds get 860 000 Won, or like 750 USD per month and aren't even able to move out of their parents' houses.

So, 1 million Won is a big payout for them. I'd have sold my shirt to get one like it when I worked in SK.

The funny thing is that Koreans rant about privacy, but just to post on a forum like this in Korea, you have to enter your Citizenship card into the website's database. Ditto for grocery point cards and half a dozen major services.

Koreans are probably the most watched people among non-regime developed countries, and for some reason, they can complain about Apple. They cannot complain in the same way about Korean companies.


Most of your points are just wrong. False informations.
1) Their AVERAGE college grads' monthly income is around $2,600.
2) Although it's true that they need to enter their national ID numbers(similar to social security numbers) when they create online IDs, they can, and do complain about their own companies and government. You make it sound like they're North Korea.

I sound like I'm speaking out for Korea, but I'm just stating the fact.
Anyhow, I wish Samsung and these class-action participants quit bothering Apple.
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

...


Not gold digging? They were not harmed in any way, nor was their location tracked per se. Rather, the system kept the location of cell towers that the person was within a few miles of. AND, unless they gave their phone to someone who knew how to access the information, none of the information was ever released to anyone.

And, by simply updating to 4.3.3 (at no charge), the problem goes away for the future.

Gold diggers, indeed.

I think he meant the other millions of Korean iPhone users who didn't participate.
post #23 of 50
People seem to confuse Apple with Google a lot. Google makes their money mining and selling personal information. Apple makes there money creating products.

Anyone think Samsung discovered they had 27,000 employees using iPhones and gave them an ultimatum? Hard to accept this as some sort of coincidence.
post #24 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

A couple thousand people illegally asking for money rather than a couple million. Yep.

Things always sound more reasonable when we used words dishonestly.

"a couple" != 27

Maybe "a couple dozen". Or how about "tens of". Considering that no class action suit ever garners the full cohort of every single individual conceivably insolvable, though, this isn't the relief people seem to want to make it out to be. And no, I don't think it reflects well on South Korea, just because it's not everybody.
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Things always sound more reasonable when we used words dishonestly.

"a couple" != 27

Maybe "a couple dozen". Or how about "tens of". Considering that no class action suit ever garners the full cohort of every single individual conceivably insolvable, though, this isn't the relief people seem to want to make it out to be. And no, I don't think it reflects well on South Korea, just because it's not everybody.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

People seem to confuse Apple with Google a lot. Google makes their money mining and selling personal information. Apple makes there money creating products.

Anyone think Samsung discovered they had 27,000 employees using iPhones and gave them an ultimatum? Hard to accept this as some sort of coincidence.

So based on your logic and that of others, every time some Americans do dumb-a$$ things, it should reflect on all of the entire country?! Doesn't seems fair does it?

When will people learn not to nationalize the actions of the few? We have all kinds of people in every country
post #26 of 50
GD Lawyers. They are worse than locusts. Anything to make a commission.
post #27 of 50
If no one else actually saw the data, was their privacy violated?
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Things always sound more reasonable when we used words dishonestly.

"Software that tracks our movements". "Privacy violations".

Yeah, things do sound more reasonable when they're dishonest.

Quote:
"a couple" != 27

And privacy ≠ South Korea, as has been previously expounded in this thread. Apple did LESS with their location database (less: a word which here means 'nothing') than the South Korean government does to citizens' privacy to allow people to use the Internet at all.

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post #29 of 50
What about Samsung Galaxy S? Is it safer than iPhone?
post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They weren't tracking anyone to BEGIN WITH. This is people whining about crap to get money. There are absolutely no damages.

Hurry up. I'm counting on an Apple settlement before Christmas so I can have a little extra cash.

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post #31 of 50
27 thousand people are not going to get paid this 900 bucks. The initial payment was one of symbolism but now the Korean attorney is getting greedy and if Korean Law is anything like US law
it's going to be bar harder to get a Judge to rule against Apple to the tune of 26 million.

At that level Apple is contacting people way above this Lawyers pay grade and dealing with it on top.
Apple's already shopping LCD business and other stuff to other companies..the latest being Sharp entering the fray.

Remember...Jobs had no problem telling the Cupertino city council that Apple would think about moving their headquarters to Mountainview if they didn't to carry out their plans for revamping the Apple Campus. They'd have no problem telling South Korea to take a hike.
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post #32 of 50
Just imagine how many North Koreans would join a class action suit against the North Korean totalitarian government over privacy concerns.

Oh wait...

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post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Granmastak View Post

So based on your logic and that of others, every time some Americans do dumb-a$$ things, it should reflect on all of the entire country?! Doesn't seems fair does it?

When will people learn not to nationalize the actions of the few? We have all kinds of people in every country

Well said!
post #34 of 50
Fun facts:
S Korea has 50 times the number of lawsuits as Japan. Per capita, 130 times more.
Per capita, S Korea has 850 times more cases of perjury and 1,100 times more cases of false accusation than Japan.
post #35 of 50
Ridiculous. No damages, no pay.

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post #36 of 50
Go get em tiger.

These responses are just the type that I expect of iFans. Whining.

What you people fail to see is the big picture behind the biased article that is written here.

Heck, there isnt even a source for this "article".

I never knew Appleinsider had that many journalists around the world reporting first hand information.


Apple should be thankful to the courts for slapping them with a minor fine instead of a heavy one.

Had it not been for the low fine, this class action lawsuit would've been a lot more expensive for Apple.

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post #37 of 50
Surley for anyone to win in this case against Apple they would have to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Apple was collecting the tracking data and not that it was just stored on the handset?
post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post

Too many people are pissed off about the Samsung lawsuit!

That's really all this is. In Korea, there is no one oblivious to the fact that Apple has taken their corporate baby to court. Even if Samsung was proved to be a blatant copy artist in court, most Koreans would never see it that way, simply because they support their own flesh and blood first. Apple is the foreign invader in their eyes. So it should come as no surprised that average Koreans are taking Apple to court on their own. Nor would I be surprised if Samsung wasn't encouraging it in some way, either directly or indirectly.

Some contend that none of this casts Apple in a good light. But I cannot help but feel that it makes the Koreans look bad as well (of course, only to those who aren't Korean).
post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by OccamsAftershave View Post

Fun facts:
S Korea has 50 times the number of lawsuits as Japan. Per capita, 130 times more.
Per capita, S Korea has 850 times more cases of perjury and 1,100 times more cases of false accusation than Japan.

you must be japanese...
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

That's really all this is. In Korea, there is no one oblivious to the fact that Apple has taken their corporate baby to court. Even if Samsung was proved to be a blatant copy artist in court, most Koreans would never see it that way, simply because they support their own flesh and blood first. Apple is the foreign invader in their eyes. So it should come as no surprised that average Koreans are taking Apple to court on their own. Nor would I be surprised if Samsung wasn't encouraging it in some way, either directly or indirectly.

Some contend that none of this casts Apple in a good light. But I cannot help but feel that it makes the Koreans look bad as well (of course, only to those who aren't Korean).


Supporting your own home grown company. Whats wrong with that?

I would'nt be surprised if Apple gets a favorable judgement in the US because its a home grown company.

Seriously, what is new there? You think only South Koreans are favorable to their home grown company?

You live in Japan so I'm sure you've seen many favoratism for local companies such as Sony, Toshiba, Sharp etc.. from the Japanese.

Whats new here?

Your entire statement is the equivalent of saying "The sky is blue".

Oh, really?

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