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Court tosses mobile data tracking suit against Apple

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
A U.S. district court judge on Monday dismissed a consumer protection lawsuit leveled against Apple that claimed the company inadvertently allowed ad networks to track iOS devices, thus breaching their privacy.

Tracking
Example of iOS geographical data plotting. | Source: O'Reilly Radar


U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh handed down her final ruling in a case involving two California consumer protection laws, saying the four plaintiffs failed to prove they were harmed by any misrepresentation of data privacy on the part of Apple.

From Judge Koh's ruling:

As Plaintiffs have failed to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether any Plaintiff actually relied on any of Apple's alleged misrepresentations, the Court
concludes that no Plaintiff has standing to pursue either the iDevice or Geolocation claims.


As noted by Reuters, the plaintiffs were allowed to move forward with the suit in June 2012, alleging the company crafted iOS in such a fashion that allowed third parties to easily collect personal data without consent. In addition, plaintiffs sought damages for loss of storage space and bandwidth resulting from the alleged secret tracking.

The suit involved the purportedly unhindered access to a cellular-connected device's unique device identifier (UDID), which ad agencies could use to track an iOS device owner's usage habits. Apple imposed restrictions on UDID access in iOS 5 and has since instituted policies to reject App Store submissions that attempt to use the identifier.

Rendered moot in the decision was a motion to turn the case into a class action suit.

The ruling comes as a result of Apple's request for summary judgment in the case, which is actually a follow-up to a similar complaint thrown out by the same court in 2011. That suit claimed Apple knowingly violated consumer privacy rights by allowing ad networks and apps the ability to track the activity of iPhone and iPad users.

post #2 of 20
Good move. I thought Koh was a little off her rocker for allowing it to originally proceed, but glad she made the right decision in the end.

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post #3 of 20
Is she the only judge in Northern California?

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post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Is she the only judge in Northern California?

I was going to ask the same thing.

Is every case and claim against apple to be handled by judge koh?
post #5 of 20
Apple says one thing in their privacy statement and does another. If a peeping Tom looks at you through your window and does nothing to cause physical or financial harm to you is he committing a crime? According to this ruling the answer is no. Privacy has no actual financial value. Its value is in the intrinsic nature of your life. Is your life yours or is it for all of the public to see whether you like it or not? The peeping Tom in this case is the advertising networks.

It is possible and probable that your personal profile has been created and is linked to your credit cards and computer devices. All it takes is for somebody to coordinate the data from a device to your credit card. Even if you don't make a purchase using your computer or iOS device the profile that is you still can be linked to you. It just takes a bit of study regarding your surfing and buying habits. Radio Frequency IDentifying chips and Global Positioning System location technology in cell phones can tell companies and government everything about you. It is done by coordinating your position, purchases, and online habits. Unless we all stop using the internet, cell phones, and credit cards, we will continue to build stronger profiles telling anybody with the money to buy the data from enough databases exactly who we are.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

Apple says one thing in their privacy statement and does another. If a peeping Tom looks at you through your window and does nothing to cause physical or financial harm to you is he committing a crime? According to this ruling the answer is no. Privacy has no actual financial value. Its value is in the intrinsic nature of your life. Is your life yours or is it for all of the public to see whether you like it or not? The peeping Tom in this case is the advertising networks.

It is possible and probable that your personal profile has been created and is linked to your credit cards and computer devices. All it takes is for somebody to coordinate the data from a device to your credit card. Even if you don't make a purchase using your computer or iOS device the profile that is you still can be linked to you. It just takes a bit of study regarding your surfing and buying habits. Radio Frequency IDentifying chips and Global Positioning System location technology in cell phones can tell companies and government everything about you. It is done by coordinating your position, purchases, and online habits. Unless we all stop using the internet, cell phones, and credit cards, we will continue to build stronger profiles telling anybody with the money to buy the data from enough databases exactly who we are.

Take the tin foil hat off.
post #7 of 20
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
Is she the only judge in Northern California?

 

She’s the only one who hasn’t recused herself for being biased due to an overarching love of Apple products. :lol:

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

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post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Is she the only judge in Northern California?


Apple could petition any court where it performs business.  However, with the recent campus being built in Northern California, located relatively close (10-15 minute drive) from Koh's court, they'll likely get a more favorable rulings from the local court in San Jose.

 

Remember-- When Apple has events at Moscone, that drive is about an hour away!

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

Apple says one thing in their privacy statement and does another. If a peeping Tom looks at you through your window and does nothing to cause physical or financial harm to you is he committing a crime? According to this ruling the answer is no. Privacy has no actual financial value. Its value is in the intrinsic nature of your life. Is your life yours or is it for all of the public to see whether you like it or not? The peeping Tom in this case is the advertising networks.

It is possible and probable that your personal profile has been created and is linked to your credit cards and computer devices. All it takes is for somebody to coordinate the data from a device to your credit card. Even if you don't make a purchase using your computer or iOS device the profile that is you still can be linked to you. It just takes a bit of study regarding your surfing and buying habits. Radio Frequency IDentifying chips and Global Positioning System location technology in cell phones can tell companies and government everything about you. It is done by coordinating your position, purchases, and online habits. Unless we all stop using the internet, cell phones, and credit cards, we will continue to build stronger profiles telling anybody with the money to buy the data from enough databases exactly who we are.

Your example is not remotely comparable. It is totally unreasonable to say that a pervert who is physically close to you and is trying (generally) to see you naked body for their sexual gratification is the same as an advertiser who might be tracking your shopping/viewing/location habits on your phone (but never actually seeing you). These separate things are nothing alike. I'm not saying tracking phone usage data is ok, but it's nothing like having a deviant perched outside your bedroom window.
post #10 of 20
Where are the people who claimed Lucy Koh was biased against Apple for being Korean American?
Hello?

Shouldn't she be approving the suit since she is, according to them, biased?

Before I call out the names, I'd like to hear what they have to say.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Where are the people who claimed Lucy Koh was biased against Apple for being Korean American?
Hello?

Shouldn't she be approving the suit since she is, according to them, biased?

Before I call out the names, I'd like to hear what they have to say.

This is America vs. America, those people's response would be that she's not favoring anyone.

It was when there was Samsung (South Korea) vs Apple (America) that people were claiming she was favoring her ethnicity over her nationality.

Whether they were correct or not this is a totally different situation. Surely even you can see that...
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

Apple says one thing in their privacy statement and does another. If a peeping Tom looks at you through your window and does nothing to cause physical or financial harm to you is he committing a crime? According to this ruling the answer is no. Privacy has no actual financial value. Its value is in the intrinsic nature of your life. Is your life yours or is it for all of the public to see whether you like it or not? The peeping Tom in this case is the advertising networks.

It is possible and probable that your personal profile has been created and is linked to your credit cards and computer devices. All it takes is for somebody to coordinate the data from a device to your credit card. Even if you don't make a purchase using your computer or iOS device the profile that is you still can be linked to you. It just takes a bit of study regarding your surfing and buying habits. Radio Frequency IDentifying chips and Global Positioning System location technology in cell phones can tell companies and government everything about you. It is done by coordinating your position, purchases, and online habits. Unless we all stop using the internet, cell phones, and credit cards, we will continue to build stronger profiles telling anybody with the money to buy the data from enough databases exactly who we are.

 

It really depends on the offender.  If it is Google or the NSA it is evil, creepy and an invasion of rights.  If it is Apple it is fine and you're a troll for being concerned about it.

 

lrn2AppleInsider

post #13 of 20

The reality is data of this nature is required for the device to function properly. The data was not sent back to Apple's servers to be harvested. The mistake Apple made was the data stored on the phone was not encrypted and as such if someone had full access to your phone, they could, in theory get at that data assuming they knew how. If I leave my phone unattended with no passcode lock, a bit of my map data falling into the wrongs hands is the least of my worries.

 

Google's entire business model survives because of it's harvesting of users data and they have gone to great and sometimes sneaky lengths to get it. Apple while not perfect by any means have been quite transparent in regards to making sure the user knows what personal information is being used in addition to a simple way to opt out if you so wish.

 

How many times have you actually been required to allow access to your personal calendar, contacts, friends list or FB profile simply to log into a site with your FB credentials. Many times there is NO REASON for them to require that information.

 

This behaviour makes me see red. Can you imagine if it was that way years ago? There is a knock at your door..."Excuse me Mr. Smith, we see that you wish to subscribe to our hardware catalogue. That is terrific, we're happy to see that you get one! In order for this to happen, we need to first make photocopies of all of the pages in your address book that is sitting by the phone. We'll also need to make copies of your family calendar that's hanging on the fridge? People would have absolutely freaked out and rightly so.

 

I realize that we have little privacy any more, but we shouldn't just hand over everything willy-nilly just because they demand it, especially when there is no reason for them to have the said info in the first place. I realize that some apps need access to your contacts, calendar, photos etc. but that needs to be made clear up front in addition to why it's required and how it will be used, where it will be stored and for how long. Once that happens, we can decide if we are cool with sharing our data.

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Where are the people who claimed Lucy Koh was biased against Apple for being Korean American?
Hello?

Shouldn't she be approving the suit since she is, according to them, biased?

Before I call out the names, I'd like to hear what they have to say.


Apple is setup in such a way that the case would go to the Supreme Court.  Then, Director at Apple, Al Gore, already have the proper contacts and connections to QUICKLY file motions in the US Supreme Court.  Remember how quickly Al Gore got the US Supreme Court to start counting the votes in Florida?

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilbo63 View Post
 

The reality is data of this nature is required for the device to function properly. The data was not sent back to Apple's servers to be harvested. The mistake Apple made was the data stored on the phone was not encrypted and as such if someone had full access to your phone, they could, in theory get at that data assuming they knew how. If I leave my phone unattended with no passcode lock, a bit of my map data falling into the wrongs hands is the least of my worries.

 

Google's entire business model survives because of it's harvesting of users data and they have gone to great and sometimes sneaky lengths to get it. Apple while not perfect by any means have been quite transparent in regards to making sure the user knows what personal information is being used in addition to a simple way to opt out if you so wish.

 

How many times have you actually been required to allow access to your personal calendar, contacts, friends list or FB profile simply to log into a site with your FB credentials. Many times there is NO REASON for them to require that information.

 

This behaviour makes me see red. Can you imagine if it was that way years ago? There is a knock at your door..."Excuse me Mr. Smith, we see that you wish to subscribe to our hardware catalogue. That is terrific, we're happy to see that you get one! In order for this to happen, we need to first make photocopies of all of the pages in your address book that is sitting by the phone. We'll also need to make copies of your family calendar that's hanging on the fridge? People would have absolutely freaked out and rightly so.

 

I realize that we have little privacy any more, but we shouldn't just hand over everything willy-nilly just because they demand it, especially when there is no reason for them to have the said info in the first place. I realize that some apps need access to your contacts, calendar, photos etc. but that needs to be made clear up front in addition to why it's required and how it will be used, where it will be stored and for how long. Once that happens, we can decide if we are cool with sharing our data.

Well put.  The world isn't without it's perils, but it makes sense to limit the risks wherever you can.  Google essentially gives away hardware and most of their software so it can have access to people and their data.  Whether it's phones tablets (while you're on the go), to Google Analytics or Google Search while you're on websites, Google is piecing together of all your interests and habits.  And, the few Google products mentioned only scratch the surface.

 

Apple makes the lion's share of it's money on selling the hardware - It's a simple answer for me when I ask "which model is more prone to intrude on my privacy?".  I'm not saying Google has motives to harm and they do a lot of good - but, it's obvious where they place their systems is a strategic decision to collect and weave as complete a picture of what we do, where we go, who our friends are, etc.  The concern, if I had one, is whether the Google of tomorrow (or now) tries to profit at our expense.

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post


Your example is not remotely comparable. It is totally unreasonable to say that a pervert who is physically close to you and is trying (generally) to see you naked body for their sexual gratification is the same as an advertiser who might be tracking your shopping/viewing/location habits on your phone (but never actually seeing you). These separate things are nothing alike. I'm not saying tracking phone usage data is ok, but it's nothing like having a deviant perched outside your bedroom window.


What if they're using binoculars from their car? Is that any better because they are farther away?

post #17 of 20

Was the iPhone, from which the generated tracking data in that picture, owned by an ant, by any chance?

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post #18 of 20
"Court tosses mobile data tracking suit against Apple"

Why are they throwing things at Apple?
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Where are the people who claimed Lucy Koh was biased against Apple for being Korean American?
Hello?

Shouldn't she be approving the suit since she is, according to them, biased?

Before I call out the names, I'd like to hear what they have to say.

Well I did not say Lucy Koh was biased, but suggested not to underestimate Samesung's reach. The final ruling was a big victory for copycats in my opinion. And as mentioned already one case is not the same as another.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Good move. I thought Koh was a little off her rocker for allowing it to originally proceed, but glad she made the right decision in the end.

 

Any reason? Everyone on here seems to dislike her solely on the basis of summary articles. Even if you just skim the linked article, it goes into a lot of the details involved in the dismissal of the case. I pasted part below.

 

 
Quote:
ii.
 
Absence of Evidence that Plaintiffs Relied on Any Alleged Misrepresentation (a)
 
iDevice Claims
While the iDevice Plaintiffs identify numerous purported misrepresentations and argue that they relied on them in purchasing their iPhones,
see
Opp’n at 11-13, the evidentiary record is devoid of “specific facts” to support Plaintiffs’ assertions. Critically,
none
 of the Plaintiffs presents evidence that he or she even saw, let alone read and relied upon, the alleged misrepresentations contained in the Apple Privacy Policies, SLAs, or App Store Terms and Conditions, either prior to  purchasing his or her iPhone, or at any time thereafter.
10
 In their depositions, Plaintiffs either could not recall having read any of these policies

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cykz View Post


Well I did not say Lucy Koh was biased, but suggested not to underestimate Samesung's reach. The final ruling was a big victory for copycats in my opinion. And as mentioned already one case is not the same as another.


Out of curiosity, did you read through any of the documents prior to making that assertion?

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