California court clears Apple in credit card privacy suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
California's Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Apple did not violate the state's privacy laws by requiring that customers provide addresses and phone numbers to accept credit card payments.

Plaintiffs in the case, Reuters reports, had sued Apple and a number of other online retailers, all of which required customers to provide both addresses and phone numbers in order to complete credit card purchases. The plaintiffs ? who had purchased content from iTunes ? claimed that the requirement constituted a violation of California privacy laws, which prohibit retailers from unnecessarily gathering consumer information.

iTunes front face


In a split decision, the court ruled that those laws do not apply to online purchases that are downloaded electronically. The same court ruled in 2011 that those privacy protections do apply to physical retail locations, barring brick and mortar stores from requesting customers' ZIP codes during credit card purchases.

The three dissenting judges called the ruling a win for retailers but "a major loss for consumers, who in their online activities already face an ever-increasing encroachment upon their privacy."

The four judges of the majority said the plaintiff had raised "ominous assertions" about Apple encroaching on consumer privacy rights. Those assertions, "though eye-catching, do not withstand scrutiny," they wrote in the majority opinion.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    Not the smartest bunch, these plaintiffs? I mean, this law can be looked up, no?
  • Reply 2 of 31
    Seriously, if they are not asking for that info, they are not doing their job to protect the card owner.. that info is used to verify purchasers.. anyone can be using that card. Address and phone verification is one of the few checks they have..

    With online purchases, It's not like they can ask for your ID if you didn't sign the back of the card.
  • Reply 3 of 31
    zompzomp Posts: 52member
    REALLY? If you own a home - do you think the government has protected your name and address? Try going through Deeds or Tax lists in any State. The postman knows where you live - ever have a magazine delivered to your home? They share with affiliates. How about the pizza guy and Dominoes pizza or papa johns - They Know! There is also intelius.com and all sorts of apps and the biggest privacy offender - an old fashioned Telephone book. BEWARE!!!! they are coming for you!!
  • Reply 4 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,009member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    Not the smartest bunch, these plaintiffs? I mean, this law can be looked up, no?


    It was actually a pretty close decision. If just one of the 4 judges that ruled in Apple's favor had instead decided the opposite then Apple would have lost at the California SC The ruling was split 4-3.

  • Reply 5 of 31
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    It's becoming clear that your privacy and rights to ownership are ever increasingly being taken away.

  • Reply 6 of 31
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,647member
    i bet these plaintiffs post their personal info in facebook and allow it to be public.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member


    Those plaintiffs sound like a bunch of morons and I'm glad that they lost.


     


    It seems like plain common sense that addresses and phone numbers are connected to a particular card, and I would be suspicious of any site or retailer that didn't require them. Not having that requirement seems like heaven for fraudsters and criminals, and there are plenty of those around. If somebody doesn't wish to give up their address or phone number while doing a card transaction, then they have no business purchasing anything online from anybody.

  • Reply 8 of 31


    If one does not want to 'reveal personal info, go buy from someone else who does not request it.  Good luck.


    Someone, preferably Tim Cook, please explain why Apple did not advertise in the Superbowl (largest viewing audience anytime anywhere for any TV event).  Could they not come up with something appealing ? ( i am a long time shareholder of AAPL, who is disillusioned by their 'failing stock price.)

  • Reply 9 of 31
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    It was actually a pretty close decision. If just one of the 4 judges that ruled in Apple's favor had instead decided the opposite then Apple would have lost at the California SC The ruling was split 4-3.



     


    Thanks for doing that math for us. Of course, if just one of the Judges who were against Apple's position, which was following industry standard identity verification procedures, had decided the opposite, the ruling would have been 5-2. It's fun to play, if only things had been different, isn't it?

  • Reply 10 of 31
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    Not the smartest bunch, these plaintiffs? I mean, this law can be looked up, no?


     


     


    You are assuming that the laws are drafted by the smartest bunch and don't have more than one possible interpretation. 

  • Reply 11 of 31
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    It's becoming clear that your privacy and rights to ownership are ever increasingly being taken away.



    As others have mentioned if you have a magazine subscription or order a pizza you have basically waived your right to privacy. If you are really concerned about it, you could start an anonymous corporation and buy/own everything through the corporation because you own 100% of the shares. Kind of a hassle and costs money but it does prevent retailers from collecting your personal data. Of course it doesn't stop government agencies.

  • Reply 12 of 31
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,135member


    If someone is worried about privacy, they shouldn't be doing anything online. I applaud the decision. Online retailers need to ask for your billing address to prevent fraudulent use of a credit card. I for one am happy they ask. Imagine if the decision went the other way and all you needed was the credit card number to make an online purchase? That would open the door to rampant identity theft. 

  • Reply 13 of 31
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    tylerk36 wrote: »
    It's becoming clear that your privacy and rights to ownership are ever increasingly being taken away.

    Please be realistic. What you're expecting in this case basically decimates any ability to validate that the purchaser is the rightful holder of the card. At a B&M, they can ask to see your ID and see that the name on the ID matches the name on the card. Online, that just isn't possible.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post





    Please be realistic. What you're expecting in this case basically decimates any ability to validate that the purchaser is the rightful holder of the card. At a B&M, they can ask to see your ID and see that the name on the ID matches the name on the card. Online, that just isn't possible.


     


    Yes, they can ask to see your id at a store, however most credit cards like Mastercard and Visa have merchant agreements that say that a store cannot refuse a transaction if you won't show your identification.


     


    At least that's their official policy.  For example:


     


    Mastercard:   "A merchant must not refuse to complete a transaction solely because a cardholder refuses to provide additional identification information.


     


    However, there are certain situations where a merchant may require some personal information, such as a shipping address for online purchases.


     


    Additionally, if your MasterCard card is unsigned, a merchant should request personal identification to confirm your identify and ask the cardholder to sign the card before completing the transaction.


     


    If you believe that a merchant has violated the above standard or their actions requesting identification are questionable, you may report it by clicking the following URL and completing a brief online form."


     


    Good luck on getting a store to follow all the rules, though.

  • Reply 15 of 31
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    philboogie wrote: »
    Not the smartest bunch, these plaintiffs? I mean, this law can be looked up, no?

    Did it never occur to you that some laws are ambiguous and need a court's interpretation? The very fact that the decision was 4-3 indicates that it was not clear cut.

    I haven't read it, but reading between the lines, it probably says something like "the retailer can collect information needed to ensure that the person making the purchase is the legitimate card holder". There is a difference of opinion on what is required.
    zomp wrote: »
    REALLY? If you own a home - do you think the government has protected your name and address? Try going through Deeds or Tax lists in any State. The postman knows where you live - ever have a magazine delivered to your home? They share with affiliates. How about the pizza guy and Dominoes pizza or papa johns - They Know! There is also intelius.com and all sorts of apps and the biggest privacy offender - an old fashioned Telephone book. BEWARE!!!! they are coming for you!!

    The fact that some things are public does not negate the rights of people to no have unnecessary intrusions on their privacy. For example, the fact that you've ordered a pizza does not mean that you want the entire world to know that you were shopping for adult toys, for example.
    earthist wrote: »
    If one does not want to 'reveal personal info, go buy from someone else who does not request it.  Good luck.
    Someone, preferably Tim Cook, please explain why Apple did not advertise in the Superbowl (largest viewing audience anytime anywhere for any TV event).  Could they not come up with something appealing ? ( i am a long time shareholder of AAPL, who is disillusioned by their 'failing stock price.)

    Apple obviously didn't advertise because they didn't think it was worth $4 M for 30 seconds of time.
    jeffdm wrote: »
    Please be realistic. What you're expecting in this case basically decimates any ability to validate that the purchaser is the rightful holder of the card. At a B&M, they can ask to see your ID and see that the name on the ID matches the name on the card. Online, that just isn't possible.

    It's not that simple, either. A credit card company will normally approve the purchase if you have the card number and the 3 (or 4) digit security code on the card. Sometimes they require the zip code, too. The credit card company normally does NOT require a full address, so I don't think that argument is very convincing.

    All we know is that whatever argument Apple used, it convinced a majority of the judges that it was not a violation of privacy.
  • Reply 16 of 31
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Adrayven View Post



    Seriously, if they are not asking for that info, they are not doing their job to protect the card owner.. that info is used to verify purchasers.. anyone can be using that card. Address and phone verification is one of the few checks they have..



    With online purchases, It's not like they can ask for your ID if you didn't sign the back of the card.




    It is seriously naive to think that collecting the address and telefone numbers will contribute significantly to security. One really shouldn't be so amazingly naive. Seriously !

  • Reply 17 of 31
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member


    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

    Those plaintiffs sound like a bunch of morons and I'm glad that they lost.


     


    It seems like plain common sense that addresses and phone numbers are connected to a particular card, and I would be suspicious of any site or retailer that didn't require them. Not having that requirement seems like heaven for fraudsters and criminals, and there are plenty of those around. If somebody doesn't wish to give up their address or phone number while doing a card transaction, then they have no business purchasing anything online from anybody.





    Among the long and growing list of things you don't have a clue about, you can add security and privacy.

  • Reply 18 of 31
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Taniwha View Post




    Among the long and growing list of things you don't have a clue about, you can add security and privacy.



     


    Were you one of the moronic plaintiffs or something?, because you certainly sound butthurt.image


     


    Since addresses and phone numbers don't matter, why don't you just hand over your credit card number to me (if you qualified for one) in your reply, without giving me the address or phone number and I'll make good use of it.


     


    And listen up genius, addresses are important for credit cards, not just because of security reasons, but because it also tells you what country the card was issued in, and many retailers have restrictions on where they will sell to or ship to. There's a reason why Apple has different iTunes stores for each country.

  • Reply 19 of 31
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Earthist View Post


    If one does not want to 'reveal personal info, go buy from someone else who does not request it.  Good luck.


    Someone, preferably Tim Cook, please explain why Apple did not advertise in the Superbowl (largest viewing audience anytime anywhere for any TV event).  Could they not come up with something appealing ? ( i am a long time shareholder of AAPL, who is disillusioned by their 'failing stock price.)



    The only ad that could have made an immediate difference on share price would have been the unveiling of some awesome new product.


     


    Samsung, on the other hand, still has a long way to go before their brand name evokes warm, fuzzy feelings with American consumers, so they invested a big chunk of change being cutesy with some actors who are relevant to twenty-somethings.  Apple doesn't need to invest in that type of advertising any more because pretty much everyone already has an opinion about Apple by now.  (Unless you want Apple doing an ad like Ram did with their cringe-inducing marathon poem about farmers.)

  • Reply 20 of 31
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    malax wrote: »
    The only ad that could have made an immediate difference on share price would have been the unveiling of some awesome new product.

    Samsung, on the other hand, still has a long way to go before their brand name evokes warm, fuzzy feelings with American consumers, so they invested a big chunk of change being cutesy with some actors who are relevant to twenty-somethings.  Apple doesn't need to invest in that type of advertising any more because pretty much everyone already has an opinion about Apple by now.  (Unless you want Apple doing an ad like Ram did with their cringe-inducing marathon poem about farmers.)

    And if Apple had done that, the same people would be complaining about Apple spending $16 M on a SuperBowl ad. I'm sure we'd have a dozen trolls saying "Apple should be innovating instead of spending money on expensive ads".
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