Judge dismisses class action involving iTunes and Apple Music data privacy

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2019
Apple on Monday won final judgment to dismiss a class action complaint claiming the company unjustly profits from the aggregation and sale of iTunes and Apple Music user data.

Privacy Billboard


U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup in a judgment delivered the Northern Court of California dismissed the case with prejudice after plaintiffs failed to file an amended complaint on the matter by Nov 14. Apple on Oct. 25 won a motion to dismiss the litigation when Alsup determined facts and supporting documents presented by plaintiffs were inadequate.

Lodged in May, the litigation involves three named complainants who allege Apple broke Rhode Island and Michigan law for selling, renting, transmitting, or disclosing a customer's information without consent. Specifically, plaintiffs Leigh Wheaton, Jill Paul and Trevor Paul claim Apple sold and otherwise exposed personal listening information to third parties, including data brokers and app developers.

Pertaining to iOS developers, plaintiffs claim Apple allowed app makers access to library and listening metadata, user "tokens" that might be associated with personal information, and gifted songs. On the latter, the complaint notes iTunes incorporates a feature that tells users attempting to gift a song to another customer whether a recipient already owns a given track. The feature reveals a recipient's name and listening history, the complaint reads.

As a result of Apple's alleged privacy indiscretions, plaintiffs claim overpayment, loss of value of their personal listening information, unwarranted junk mail and telephone solicitations, and risk of identity theft, according to court documents.

Alsup in granting the October motion to dismiss referred to two key exhibits, one of which appears to show a data broker's listing for information pertaining to millions of iTunes and Pandora customers. Plaintiffs claim a mail icon presented in the document includes the names and addresses of iTunes customers, but Alsup disagreed.

"Yet, the mail icon does not explicitly disclose any names, addresses, or personally identifying information of customers. It is merely a picture of an envelope," Alsup wrote in October. "The complaint fails to explain anything about clicking on the icon. Without more information, which was surely available to counsel, this order will not speculate that the mail icon explicitly would lead to Apple customers' names and addresses."

A second exhibit, also an alleged listing from a third-party data broker, was found insufficient as evidence of Apple's supposed illicit activities because it failed to include the "data broker name, Apple, or even iTunes."

On allegations that Apple violated user rights by allowing developers access to metadata, tokens and gifted songs, Alsup found plaintiffs provided no evidence to substantially support their claims. Importantly, claimants needed to prove disclosed data connects a user's music selection to personally identifying information, a requirement that was not met by the information released through iTunes metadata.

Plaintiffs failed to explain what a token is or how Apple discloses user information through the use of such technology, nor did they adequately show sufficient injury suffered through iTunes' song gifting feature.

Mlex reported on Alsup's dismissal earlier today.

With the case dismissed with prejudice, plaintiffs are barred from bringing amended claims against Apple in a future action. The litigation is dead.

watto_cobraMacAwesome1984

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    roakeroake Posts: 821member
    The mind grows numb...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Good! Patent trolls and frivolous claims should be outlawed and punished. 
    flyingdpmwhitepscooter63watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 19
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,110member
    Darn it... unless Apple goes full-force and demands attorney's fees from these a$$hats, trolls will continue to file more and more frivolous lawsuits.  Simply losing a case is not enough of an incentive for these abusers of the justice system to stop.
    mwhiteviclauyycpscooter63watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 19
    One down, a billion to go...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    sflocal said:
    Darn it... unless Apple goes full-force and demands attorney's fees from these a$$hats, trolls will continue to file more and more frivolous lawsuits.  Simply losing a case is not enough of an incentive for these abusers of the justice system to stop.
    I'm afraid that's the only way. I mean, look at this. The lawyers did no work at all, so they obviously knew this case had no legs. They hoped that if they were enough of a nuisance then Apple might just agree on a settlement out of court. 

    There's no point going after the folk they've roped in to help their scam; time to go after the lawyers. Apple needs to start a few lawsuits of their own, start taking their time and money.
    mwhiteBebewatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 19
    Apple should just tell them to FK off and buy an Android 😂
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    Given how bad the iTunes music suggestion is. I wonder any harm will ever affect anyone. 
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Evidence?  Minor technicality...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,132member

    With the case dismissed with prejudice, plaintiffs are barred from bringing amended claims against Apple in a future action. The litigation is dead.


    Not correct.  Plaintiffs can appeal the dismissal, and file motions to aside the judgment or for leave to file an amended complaint. 


    beowulfschmidtFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 10 of 19
    flydog said:

    With the case dismissed with prejudice, plaintiffs are barred from bringing amended claims against Apple in a future action. The litigation is dead.


    Not correct.  Plaintiffs can appeal the dismissal, and file motions to aside the judgment or for leave to file an amended complaint. 


    flydog is correct.  Litigation in the U.S. is never dead dead until it reaches SCOTUS.  "Dismissed with prejudice" just raises the bar higher than most people and corporations are willing to leap.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    Make them pay for court fees. Waste of time. “Omg, it’s an envelope icon!”
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    PezaPeza Posts: 198member
    So they had a case, which sounded valid, but failed to produce enough evidence to back it up? What a complete waste of time.
    i don’t trust Apples so called privacy policies anymore. And certainly no more then Amazon or Google, but if your going to bring a case about it to court then make sure you have water tight complete evidence first!!
  • Reply 13 of 19
    BebeBebe Posts: 145member
    Apple still wasted load of money to defend.  I only consider this a win for Apple if they got all plaintiffs and attorneys paid for the litigation cost.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    sflocal said:
    Darn it... unless Apple goes full-force and demands attorney's fees from these a$$hats, trolls will continue to file more and more frivolous lawsuits.  Simply losing a case is not enough of an incentive for these abusers of the justice system to stop.
    It never went to trial. Attorney fees for the opposing party are generally awarded when the plaintiff loses in trial.  This case was dismissed with prejudice so the plaintiffs can never reopen or refile the case.  

  • Reply 15 of 19

    Rayz2016 said:
    sflocal said:
    Darn it... unless Apple goes full-force and demands attorney's fees from these a$$hats, trolls will continue to file more and more frivolous lawsuits.  Simply losing a case is not enough of an incentive for these abusers of the justice system to stop.
    I'm afraid that's the only way. I mean, look at this. The lawyers did no work at all, so they obviously knew this case had no legs. They hoped that if they were enough of a nuisance then Apple might just agree on a settlement out of court. 

    There's no point going after the folk they've roped in to help their scam; time to go after the lawyers. Apple needs to start a few lawsuits of their own, start taking their time and money.
    That’s not how the court system works.  
    MacAwesome1984
  • Reply 16 of 19
    flydog said:

    With the case dismissed with prejudice, plaintiffs are barred from bringing amended claims against Apple in a future action. The litigation is dead.


    Not correct.  Plaintiffs can appeal the dismissal, and file motions to aside the judgment or for leave to file an amended complaint. 


    You really have no clue.  This case was DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. It is dead.  Look it up. You cannot appeal a DISMISSAL.  You can only appeal a DECISION. There was no judgment to set aside because the case never went to trial.  There is nothing to appeal.  
    edited November 2019 MacAwesome1984
  • Reply 17 of 19
    Bebe said:
    Apple still wasted load of money to defend.  I only consider this a win for Apple if they got all plaintiffs and attorneys paid for the litigation cost.
    It’s cute that you think you know how much money Apple spent to defend a small case.  No depositions were done, not much discovery.  Plaintiffs failed to follow through on what the judge requested so it got dismissed.  Plaintiffs were hoping for a quick offer and got nothing.  
  • Reply 18 of 19
    DEAR Leigh Wheaton, Jill Paul, and Trevor Paul, YOU LOSE ! Heh! (Mark Zuckerberg Laugh Chirp from SNL) Heh!
  • Reply 19 of 19
    flydog said:

    With the case dismissed with prejudice, plaintiffs are barred from bringing amended claims against Apple in a future action. The litigation is dead.


    Not correct.  Plaintiffs can appeal the dismissal, and file motions to aside the judgment or for leave to file an amended complaint. 


    flydog is correct.  Litigation in the U.S. is never dead dead until it reaches SCOTUS.
    Actually the post is quite correct... They had 30 days to appeal the decision, they didn’t. They can not appeal, its over. Those are the rules. I don’t know why morons always think you can just appeal anything you dont like. You must have very specific and valid cause and you must FOLLOW THE RULES.
    edited November 2019
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