Apple already hit with lawsuit over iOS location tracking file

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
As the iOS 4 location tracking file on the iPhone continues to make headlines, two customers have already sued Apple and accused the company of invasion of privacy and computer fraud.



The class-action suit was filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., by Vikram Ajjampur of Florida and William Devito of New York. The two have asked a judge to bar the data collection on iPhones and 3G-equipped iPads, according to Bloomberg.



"We take issue specifically with the notion that Apple is now basically tracking people everywhere they go," attorney Aaron Mayer reportedly said in representing his clients. "If you are a federal marshal you have to have a warrant to do this kind of thing, and Apple is doing it without one."



The customers seek refunds for their purchases, because they said they would not have bought Apple's products if they had known of the location tracking. The plaintiffs said they were unaware of the tracking and never consented to it.



Apple has not yet officially commented on the matter, which gained attention last week, when two researchers publicized it. They found that the iOS 4 mobile operating system creates a file, "consolidated.db," which collects latitude and longitude coordinates where the device has been, along with a timestamp.



It has been suggested that the file's existence and the fact that data is recorded but never deleted are an oversight by Apple. The unencrypted information resides on a user's phone and in iTunes backups, but has not been found to be transmitted to Apple or any third parties.







Disabling location services on an iPhone or iPad also does not stop the creation of the file or the recording of location information. Researchers have advised users to encrypt their iTunes backup files to bolster security, as anyone with access to a device or just a backup file could extract the information.



In addition to the class-action lawsuit, Apple's iOS 4 tracking scandal has also prompted investigations of the company in South Korea, France, Germany, and Italy. And last week, two national elected officials in the U.S. sent letters to Apple, expressing concerns over the "consolidated.db" tracking file and requesting information regarding why the data is collected.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    Sue first, ask questions later.
  • Reply 2 of 90
    cmvsmcmvsm Posts: 204member
    These guys must have been in a race to see who could file first. Two New Yorkers (I highly doubt that Vikram Ajjamper is from Florida) vacationing in Tampa couldn't wait to get home in order to file as they might miss the window of opportunity. I say who cares unless you worried about being tracked for something illegal. Being from New York, maybe they have a point.
  • Reply 3 of 90
    Wow, overreaction much?

    The researchers did not find the file to be sent out anyplace.

    Apple screwed up by not encrypting the file - none of this would have come up if they had done that simple thing.

    I'm sure we will see a patch coming along real soon.
  • Reply 4 of 90
    It's my information, about me, on my phone, just like my emails and contacts. Nobody is harvesting the information. I don't care. Now google, there is somebody I do not trust with my information.
  • Reply 5 of 90
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post


    Sue first, ask questions later.



    Only in America..
  • Reply 6 of 90
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    Well it was bound to happen sooner or later.
  • Reply 7 of 90
    My two cents: It's not a "tracking file". It is a file where location data is stored. BIG DIFFERENCE. Legal and otherwise.
  • Reply 8 of 90
    The telecom act of 1996 required that cell phone companies keep location data and connect to your phone to listen and access the data on your phones.



    http://www.infowars.com/investigatio...-spy-on-users/
  • Reply 9 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tranquility View Post


    My two cents: It's not a "tracking file". It is a file where location data is stored. BIG DIFFERENCE. Legal and otherwise.



    Exactly. Is there a GPS out there that doesn't maintain previous locations in memory?
  • Reply 10 of 90
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    You are holding it wrong. If you hold your finger across the antenna gap on the bottom left corner, the phone will not log or even detect the cell tower.
  • Reply 11 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    You are holding it wrong. If you hold your finger across the antenna gap on the bottom left corner, the phone will not log or even detect the cell tower.



  • Reply 12 of 90
    sara99sara99 Posts: 1member
    Anything to try and make money. Do they really think Apple is watching your every move? That is ridiculous. I hope a judge throws them out of court by there, you know what.
  • Reply 13 of 90
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CookiePuss View Post


    The telecom act of 1996 required that cell phone companies keep location data and connect to your phone to listen and access the data on your phones.



    http://www.infowars.com/investigatio...-spy-on-users/



    Stop with all these facts. People hate it when you force them to face the facts.
  • Reply 14 of 90
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 651member
    Wait till these folks hear about what their car's GPS is doing. Hope the boys at Garmin have a tramp steamer full of lawyers.
  • Reply 15 of 90
    I'd bet all cell phones have such a file and the carriers are probably required by the U S of A to have it. If the US can wiretap calls, then they can certainly require tracking information.
  • Reply 16 of 90
    eacummeacumm Posts: 93member
    The way I see it, is it could save your ass since it records latitude and longitude along with time stamp, if someone ever accuses you of wrong doing and you was not there.
  • Reply 17 of 90
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CookiePuss View Post


    The telecom act of 1996 required that cell phone companies keep location data and connect to your phone to listen and access the data on your phones.



    http://www.infowars.com/investigatio...-spy-on-users/



    With all due respect to infowars.com, being able to determine the users current location is not the same as recording their movements.
  • Reply 18 of 90
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,624member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CookiePuss View Post


    The telecom act of 1996 required that cell phone companies keep location data and connect to your phone to listen and access the data on your phones.



    http://www.infowars.com/investigatio...-spy-on-users/



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    With all due respect to infowars.com, being able to determine the users current location is not the same as recording their movements.



    Very true.



    Nothing I've read about this indicates that Apple is doing any tracking of phones or individuals in any user identifiable manner. If they are or were, I would, quite rightly, be on the side of those criticizing them. However, here's an interesting tidbit in the WSJ article linked to from the Infowars article:



    Quote:

    In the case of Google, according to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour. It also transmitted the name, location and signal strength of any nearby Wi-Fi networks, as well as a unique phone identifier.



    And, it would not surprise me to learn that the same is true of all Android phones.



    Since the same has not been indicated for the iPhone -- i.e., no one has published anything indicating that the iPhone is transmitting this info anywhere along with user identifiable information -- it seems unlikely that they are.



    Why is it, given that Google is transmitting user identifiable information along with location data on a regular basis, that the press, bloggers and Android fans are all over Apple about this, when they appear not to be transmitting any user identifiable information.



    From what is known, it appears the most Apple is doing that's truly objectionable may be that they are using up some of the data you are allowed under your data plan.
  • Reply 19 of 90
    The class-action suit was filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., by Vikram Ajjampur of Florida and William Devito of New York. The two have asked a judge to bar the data collection on iPhones and 3G-equipped iPads, according to Bloomberg.



    "We take issue specifically with the notion that Apple is now basically tracking people everywhere they go," attorney Aaron Mayer reportedly said in representing his clients. "If you are a federal marshal you have to have a warrant to do this kind of thing, and Apple is doing it without one."



    The customers seek refunds for their purchases, because they said they would not have bought Apple's products if they had known of the location tracking. The plaintiffs said they were unaware of the tracking and never consented to it."





    Reminds me of a lyric from a Joni Mitchell song, "The Windfall (Everything for Nothing)"



    "In the land of litigation

    The courts are like game shows

    Take what's behind the curtain

    The jury cries

    I'm not going to be the jackpot

    At the end of your perjured rainbow

    Not if local justice has even one good eye."



    Good luck Steve. Per Don McLean, "This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you."
  • Reply 20 of 90
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    anonymouse, I agree with everything you said about Google and I personally wouldn't touch one of their phones if they paid me to use it. And yes, I think Google should be included in these investigations.



    But that doesn't explain why Apple is recording this data.
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