NEWS29 November 2013

Judge dismisses iPhone data-sharing complaint

Legal North America

US — A group of iPhone and iPad users have had a lawsuit dismissed that accused maker Apple of violating its own privacy policies by sharing unique device identifiers with app developers and affiliates.


Plaintiffs sought compensation, claiming that they paid more for their phones than they otherwise would have had they known about the data collection and tracking. They also argued that the tracking activities required the use of battery power, storage and bandwidth that the user had to pay for.

However, US District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled this week that the consumers hadn’t shown that they read the privacy statements before buying their iPhones or iPads. According to MediaPost: “She ruled that none of the consumers submitted enough evidence to show that they ‘read or relied on any particular Apple misrepresentation’ regarding privacy.”

The lawsuit dates back to December 2010. It stemmed from a research paper by Bucknell University’s Eric Smith, who observed exchanges of unique device identifiers between iPhone and iPad apps and third-party servers.

The original version of the lawsuit was dismissed in 2011, with Judge Lucy Koh ruling that plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that they had suffered any harm from having their unique device identifiers tracked by third-parties, but plaintiffs submitted a revised complaint soon after.

Judge Koh’s dismissal was in response to Apple’s request for summary judgement.