Apple again sued over iPhone location data, personal information

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Another lawsuit against Apple has emerged, alleging that the company commits fraud, abuse and unfair trade practices because it transmits the iPhone's Unique Device ID and location information to third-party advertisers.



Filed in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico by Lymaris M. Rivera Diaz, the new lawsuit accuses Apple of "intentionally intercepting personally identifying information," The Loop reports. The Weather Channel, Pandora Media and as many as 10 unnamed companies, provisioned as Does 1-10, are listed in the complaint.



According to the report, Apple faces six different charges, including fraud, abuse and unfair trade practices, for its alleged practice of capturing an iPhone's UDID and location data and sending the information to advertisers.



The filing comes on the heels of another lawsuit also targeting Apple and Pandora Media Group. Filed in New York, the lawsuit took issue with Apple's lack of a method to "delete or restrict access" to a device's UDID. The suit also alleges that the company collects data from users without their consent. As with a similar complaint from December 2010, the lawsuit appears to be based off of an article from The Wall Street Journal that highlighted the use of anonymous user tracking in mobile apps.



In April, a class-action suit was filed against Apple over an alleged "location tracking" file in the iPhone publicized by security researchers last month.



Apple has since revealed that the database in question is actually a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers. CEO Steve Jobs said in an interview that people "jumped to the wrong conclusions" about the file.



The company admitted that a bug in iOS preserved the data for longer than was necessary. Last week, Apple released iOS 4.3.3 to address the issue.



While testifying at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing earlier this week, Apple Vice President of Software Technology Guy L. "Bud" Tribble reaffirmed the company's commitment to privacy. "Apple is strongly committed to giving our customers clear and transparent notice, choice and control over their information, and we believe our products do so in a simple and elegant way," he said.



For several years now, Apple has been the world's most-sued tech company. As such, the company has brought on several prominent lawyers as outside counsel to protect itself.
«134567

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 122
    I've said it once and I'll say it again... WTF. That is all.
  • Reply 2 of 122
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    I'd like to give Apple the benefit of the doubt and say their heart is in the right place. It's just getting harder and harder to do that. The revelation at the Congressional hearings that iOS allows any app developer to pull _all_ your contact information without your permission or even your knowledge was pretty surprising to me, for example.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple has since revealed that the database in question is actually a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers. CEO Steve Jobs said in an interview that people "jumped to the wrong conclusions" about the file.



    Unfortunately for Apple, that file was shown to be able to track one of the folks who testified to Congress to within 20 feet of his actual location as determined by GPS. Also, Skyhook, the originator of the technique used to create that file, says it was designed to track individuals to within 200 - 1000 meter accuracy, not the 100s of miles claimed by Steve Jobs in a press release. http://www.skyhookwireless.com/howitworks/



    The lies are wearing thin and it's time for Apple to provide a complete end-too-end privacy policy that isn't packed with smoke and mirrors. They can do it themselves, or they can have the government do it for them.
  • Reply 3 of 122
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    According to the report, Apple faces six different charges, including fraud, abuse and unfair trade practices, for its alleged practice of capturing an iPhone's UDID and location data and sending the information to advertisers.



    BTW, it's probably just a matter of time before lawsuits start appearing because an individual can be identified by their IP address, which Apple records. According to testimony from the Department of Justice the IP address can be used to identify an individual, whereas Apple claims their data cannot be used to identify an individual.
  • Reply 4 of 122
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    Unfortunately for Apple, that file was shown to be able to track one of the folks who testified to Congress to within 20 feet of his actual location as determined by GPS.



    But the file is on the device and maybe on the computer and is not transmitted anywhere. No one has access to that info.
  • Reply 5 of 122
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    But the file is on the device and maybe on the computer and is not transmitted anywhere. No one has access to that info.



    He?s just spreading FUD. Best to ignore him.
  • Reply 6 of 122
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    But the file is on the device and maybe on the computer and is not transmitted anywhere. No one has access to that info.



    Anyone who access your computer can access the data. This would include things like trojan horse software. Someone accessing that data is how this first caught the public eye. http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/ And it's why Apple stopped backing up the data to the computer.
  • Reply 7 of 122
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    He’s just spreading FUD. Best to ignore him.



    LOL. This coming from the guy who was 100% wrong with his claims about what's actually going on and demonstrated repeated he has no understanding of the issues at all.



    You were wrong and you spent a great deal of effort posting your nonsense repeatedly even in the face of clear evidence showing you to be wrong. You'd do a great service to the public by simply not posting when you have no idea what you're talking about.



    You're not _required_ to post on the internet, you know.
  • Reply 8 of 122
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    Anyone who access your computer can access the data.



    So they have full access to your computer and your worried about them finding out where your iPhone was yesterday at 2:15 PM?

  • Reply 9 of 122
    yensid98yensid98 Posts: 307member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    So they have full access to your computer and your worried about them finding out where your iPhone was yesterday at 2:15 PM?





    QFT.



    If someone has access to your computer I think you have much bigger things to worry about than someone getting a general idea of where you've gone with your iPhone.



    Besides, if that's big a deal Apple has announced that the information will cease to be backed up with iOS 5. In a few short months this will be a non-issue (if it isn't already).



    Much ado about nothing.
  • Reply 10 of 122
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    So they have full access to your computer and your worried about them finding out where your iPhone was yesterday at 2:15 PM?





    Any software you load onto your computer has access to the data on your computer. This is why I specifically mentioned Trojan horse software.



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_horse_(computing)
  • Reply 11 of 122
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post


    If someone has access to your computer I think you have much bigger things to worry about than someone getting a general idea of where you've gone with your iPhone.



    Fortunately, that's not for you to decide.



    Apple knew what they had done was a serious mistake. It's why they were so quick to fix it and why the fix completely removed the file from the computer.



    The fixes were a good start, and I've commended Apple for their quick response several times on this message board. Unfortunately (for Apple) this brought closer inspection of their practices. That, in turn, has reveled new problems with their privacy policies. The recent spats of lawsuits are one result of that attention. Investigations by governments around the world are additional results.



    This isn't going to blow over. For example, the fact that iOS allows any developer complete access to a user's contacts without the user's permission or even knowledge is simply inexcusable. And now known by Congress.



    The wheels are in motion now. Denials are counter-productive. As I said above, Apple can take the lead and fix the news problems that have been found, or they can have the government fix the problem for them.
  • Reply 12 of 122
    blah64blah64 Posts: 986member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    I'd like to give Apple the benefit of the doubt and say their heart is in the right place. It's just getting harder and harder to do that. The revelation at the Congressional hearings that iOS allows any app developer to pull _all_ your contact information without your permission or even your knowledge was pretty surprising to me, for example.



    Why isn't everyone bent out of shape over this one?! I don't think Apple intentionally did this, but it's got to get patched up. It's simple: make it optional, just like location. If there's a specific need for an app to have access to a UUID or certain information, just ask. If I want to grant access, fine, but it should not be available to any random developer from whom I happen to try an app. And add an "enable for all apps" and a "disable for all apps" and you're done. Everyone is happy. Otherwise we're all going to need to start asking our friends to not put our info in their phones! :-(



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    BTW, it's probably just a matter of time before lawsuits start appearing because an individual can be identified by their IP address, which Apple records. According to testimony from the Department of Justice the IP address can be used to identify an individual, whereas Apple claims their data cannot be used to identify an individual.



    Yes, I've been waiting for this as well, and it's virtually certain to come. When companies (and forum posters) echo the laughable comments about how various kinds of data are non-identifying, it's pitiful. It only shows that many people echo what they hear instead of digging in to understand what's really going on.



    Now, for those people who understand but don't care, that's another story entirely. I think they should all read the wonderfully entertaining privacy policy page for the DuckDuckGo search engine, (and the great real-world references) but hey, that's their choice.
  • Reply 13 of 122
    plokoonpmaplokoonpma Posts: 262member
    LoL this is becoming ridiculous. If that morons that are suing would take their time to read the privacy terms of must apps and not granted location services to them...
  • Reply 14 of 122
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    LOL. This coming from the guy who was 100% wrong with his claims about what's actually going on and demonstrated repeated he has no understanding of the issues at all.



    You were wrong and you spent a great deal of effort posting your nonsense repeatedly even in the face of clear evidence showing you to be wrong. You'd do a great service to the public by simply not posting when you have no idea what you're talking about.



    You're not _required_ to post on the internet, you know.



    I'm thinking of suing the trash collection service, they collect bins full of trash including letters and bills which can be used to identify me and where I live.



    They don't even have a privacy policy.



    Want to join my class action, Mr Chicken Little?
  • Reply 15 of 122
    plokoonpmaplokoonpma Posts: 262member
    Just to add on the IP matter.

    Judge Harold Baker of the Central District Court of Illinois ruled this recently. The decision handed down from his bench states that an Internet Protocol (IP) address does not necessarily correlate to a particular individual, and that it cannot be treated as such during legal investigations be they civil or criminal.



    https://www.privacyassociation.org/p...dress_linkage/



    The entire Judge Baker ruling on PDF

    http://ia600403.us.archive.org/4/ite...51489.15.0.pdf
  • Reply 16 of 122
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by plokoonpma View Post


    Just to add on the IP matter.

    Judge Harold Baker of the Central District Court of Illinois ruled this recently. The decision handed down from his bench states that an Internet Protocol (IP) address does not necessarily correlate to a particular individual, and that it cannot be treated as such during legal investigations be they civil or criminal.



    https://www.privacyassociation.org/p...dress_linkage/



    The entire Judge Baker ruling on PDF

    http://ia600403.us.archive.org/4/ite...51489.15.0.pdf



    Interesting, because at the Congressional hearings with Apple and Google the Department of Justice testified to Congress that it can be used for that purpose, as did a privacy expert.
  • Reply 17 of 122
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    I'm thinking of suing the trash collection service, they collect bins full of trash including letters and bills which can be used to identify me and where I live.



    It's your choice to throw away personal information in the trash.



    There's nothing wrong with companies collecting personal information with your permission. It's when they do it without your permission, and sometimes even without your knowledge, that there's a problem.



    And as I said, we're past the point where these kinds of denials are useful.
  • Reply 18 of 122
    plokoonpmaplokoonpma Posts: 262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    Interesting, because at the Congressional hearings with Apple and Google the Department of Justice testified to Congress that it can be used for that purpose, as did a privacy expert.



    Yup, it is. Specially since US Law base a lot of rulings using existing precedents.
  • Reply 19 of 122
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I hope they get sued over and over until they become utterly paranoid about protecting user privacy. That would be a good culture to have.
  • Reply 20 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    Interesting, because at the Congressional hearings with Apple and Google the Department of Justice testified to Congress that it can be used for that purpose, as did a privacy expert.



    Of course the DOJ testified to that effect because they are the plaintiffs and accusers in a case and so IP=ID is their wet dream wish. Thankfully, we have a separation of powers, and the courts have said the law is that IP≠ID because thank is just bunkum from a power hungry tyrannical government.
Sign In or Register to comment.