Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Customers sue Apple over location data recording

Courtesy of Wired Magazine

Two Apple customers have filed a lawsuit accusing the Cupertino, California, company of committing violations of computer-fraud laws by recording location data of iPhone and iPad customers.

Vikram Ajjampur, an iPhone customer in Florida, and William Devito, a New York iPad customer, filed the suit in federal court April 22 in Tampa, Florida.

“The accessibility of the unencrypted information collected by Apple places users at serious risk of privacy invasions, including stalking” (.pdf), the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit revolves around a discovery publicized last week that a file stored on Apple’s mobile devices contains a log recording geographical data that dates as far back as 10 months ago.

Wired.com reported last week that Apple acknowledged in a letter to Rep. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) last year that the company deliberately collects anonymized location data from mobile devices in order to build a comprehensive location database that provides improved location services to customers.

Ajjampur and Devito allege that Apple has violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by intentionally accessing the location information without authorization.

“By secretly installing software that records users [sic] every moves Apple has accessed Plaintiffs’ computers, in the course of interstate commerce or communication, in excess of the authorization provided by Plaintiffs as described in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,” the lawsuit says.

Ajjampur and Devito are seeking class action status to represent U.S. iPhone and iPad customers. The complaint seeks an injunction requiring Apple to disable the data collection in a software update, and it also seeks damages for violations committed.

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