Apple could face penalties for bungling document handling in privacy suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A U.S. judge on Tuesday scolded Apple for not handing over important documents pertaining to an ongoing privacy suit, inviting plaintiffs to level sanctions against the Cupertino tech giant for what was called "unacceptable conduct."

An in-court report from Bloomberg noted that U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal said document production, including emails and employee papers, from Apple had "more than doubled" since he began oversight of the case earlier in March.

Judge Grewal
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal.
Source: California District Court


In the case, Apple is accused of collecting, and disseminating with third-parties, location data from unknowing iPhone users, with tracking allegedly taking place even when device owners specifically disabled the handset's geo-location features.

Apple counsel had been reprimanded over its lack of discovery compliance before, and on March 6, Judge Grewal ordered the company to come up with a detailed overview of how the documents were collected. Specifically, the judge required Apple to divulge search terms, dates of searches, individuals subject to searches and the number of documents these searches produced.

After reviewing the results, Judge Grewal told Apple lawyer Ashlie Beringer that it ?doesn?t sound like you did a lick of work? to double-check the efficacy of employees' document production. In response, Beringer said the Cupertino company had made ?Herculean efforts over the last two weeks? to resolve the issue, adding that document production was now complete.

According to the publication, Apple had turned over more than 2,000 documents since the jurist's order.

Most recently, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled against an Apple motion to dismiss the case, saying she was unsettled by the company's attempt to have the suit thrown out based on documents it had not yet provided to plaintiffs' counsel.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,060member
    Who gives a tinker's damn?
  • Reply 2 of 11
    What is it he is looking for them to turn over? The proof they are not tracking users? If they aren't, how would they have anything to turn over?
  • Reply 3 of 11
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    A U.S. judge on Tuesday scolded Apple for not handing over important documents pertaining to an ongoing privacy suit, inviting plaintiffs to level sanctions against the Cupertino tech giant for what was called "unacceptable conduct."

    Any news story that talks about plaintiffs leveling sanctions isn't worth reading.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,582member
    jragosta wrote: »
    Any news story that talks about plaintiffs leveling sanctions isn't worth reading.

    It should have read "U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal... invited plaintiffs' lawyers in the case to pursue sanctions "

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-19/apple-may-face-sanctions-over-documents-in-privacy-suit.html
  • Reply 5 of 11
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    This is really something of a moot issue. Basically someone doesn't agree with the keywords Apple used. Unless the Judge spelled out the required terms in advance and can prove Apple knowingly skipped some to avoid giving up info then its more a personal opinion issue that some kind of violation.

    The Judge probably doesn't want to seem soft on Apple so he'll wrist slap them and move on. And it won't matter in regards to Apple winning or losing
  • Reply 6 of 11
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member


    Visiting this site, I learn a lot about the US legal system, and many aspects of it are very unfamiliar to me. One of them is :  why are these judges so talkative ?

  • Reply 7 of 11
    froodfrood Posts: 771member


    hmmmm.....


     


    Collect data on all your users who have no option to 'opt out' of your collection system.


    Use GPS to track them despite them disabling.....


     


    I'd get rid of the documents too.  Smart move Apple.  It'll barely rank a comment in an obscure site as opposed to providing evidence.


    Google was honest and provided evidence and it cost them several mil and quite a bit of bad press.


     


    For the diehard Apple fans, I know, I know already.  Google doing it is *bad*  Apple doing it is fine.

  • Reply 8 of 11
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    frood wrote: »
    hmmmm.....

    Collect data on all your users who have no option to 'opt out' of your collection system.
    Use GPS to track them despite them disabling.....

    I'd get rid of the documents too.  Smart move Apple.  It'll barely rank a comment in an obscure site as opposed to providing evidence.
    Google was honest and provided evidence and it cost them several mil and quite a bit of bad press.

    For the diehard Apple fans, I know, I know already.  Google doing it is *bad*  Apple doing it is fine.

    No one said any such thing. If Apple were doing what you said, that would be a bad thing.

    There's just no evidence that Apple has done anything like that.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    " why are these judges so talkative ?"


    Baffles me too.
    It almost makes it seem like he is "putting on a show."
  • Reply 10 of 11
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Frood View Post


    hmmmm.....


     


    Collect data on all your users who have no option to 'opt out' of your collection system.


    Use GPS to track them despite them disabling.....


     


    I'd get rid of the documents too.  Smart move Apple.  It'll barely rank a comment in an obscure site as opposed to providing evidence.


    Google was honest and provided evidence and it cost them several mil and quite a bit of bad press.


     


    For the diehard Apple fans, I know, I know already.  Google doing it is *bad*  Apple doing it is fine.





    I don't know if destroying evidence is such a smart move. In fact this seems to be the basis of Apples defence .... the plaintiffs have not produced evidence of wrongdoing by apple .... because Apple is refusing to produce the evidence in the first place, which as I understand it is the whole point of the discovery process in US law. Apple has been butt-kicked before regarding discovery compliance and it won't help them that they are building a reputation for trying to game the courts.


     


    This all reminds me somewhat of how the DOJ stands in relation to illegal wiretaps .... by refusing to produce evidence, by classifying the evidence that it has been asked to produced as classified on the basis of "national security" and then arguing that the plaintiffs cannot prove that they have been damaged. Its a sad day for democracy and fundamental rights when the government escapes accountability.


     


    Not that I'm saying that Apple is the government .... they just act as if they think they are and that they are above the law. Not a good thing !

  • Reply 11 of 11
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    taniwha wrote: »

    I don't know if destroying evidence is such a smart move. In fact this seems to be the basis of Apples defence .... the plaintiffs have not produced evidence of wrongdoing by apple .... because Apple is refusing to produce the evidence in the first place, which as I understand it is the whole point of the discovery process in US law. Apple has been butt-kicked before regarding discovery compliance and it won't help them that they are building a reputation for trying to game the courts.

    Who says that Apple destroyed evidence? That has never been claimed in this case.

    As for the rest - it sounds more like the discovery order was unclear. That's very common in large cases. There are several interpretations of the discovery order, so the defendant uses the one that's least expensive and least intrusive. The other side says "that's not what we were asking for, give us more information" - and the judge has to sort it out.

    Incomplete discovery accusations are nearly universal in large cases like this. Heck, they're even common in small cases.
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