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Policy: Technology

Class action filed by iPhone users who say they were spied on

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Apple,Law,Technology,Legal Newsline,iPhone

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – A class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple by class members who claim the company was spying on them with the iPhone’s location tracking tools.

In September 2012, Apple released its iPhone 4, which contained an iOS operating system software that enabled iPhone 4 to track its users’ whereabouts down to every minute, record the duration that users stay at any given geographical point and periodically transmit these data stored on the users’ devices to Apple’s data base for future references.

U.S. Courthouse in San Jose

U.S. Courthouse in San Jose

Chen Ma claims the location service is on iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, according to a complaint filed July 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

On July 11, China’s Central Television announced an investigation into iPhone’s location service tool, revealing for the first time to Ma that her iPhone 5S tracks and records her daily whereabouts without her knowledge and that Apple has surreptitiously acquiring the data without her consent, approval or permission, according to the suit.

“According to information and belief, iPhone users are not given any meaningful choice enabling them to turn off the Location Service without substantially compromising significant number of functionalities of iPhones,” the complaint states.

Ma claims in response to inquiries by CCTV, Apple only stressed that it will not disclose to any third party the data concerning iPhone consumers’ detailed daily whereabouts, but did not deny that these iPhones are indeed transmitting such highly sensitive and private consumers data to its database to be stored for future reference.

Apple has intentionally intruded on and into Ma’s and each respective putative class member’s solitude, seclusion or private affairs, and such intrusion is highly offensive to a reasonable person, according to the suit.

Apple has released and disclosed the “private information of iPhone users to third-parties, including but not limited to U.S. government who, according to information, has made more than 1,000 information requests to Apple,” the complaint states.

Ma claims she will “fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class and has no interests adverse to or in conflict with other class members.”

“A class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of this controversy because, among other things, joinder of all class members is impracticable and a class action will reduce the risk of inconsistent adjudications or repeated litigation on the same conduct,” the complaint states. “Further, the expense and burden of individual lawsuits would make it virtually impossible for class members, Apple, or the Court to cost effectively redress separately the unlawful conduct alleged.”

The class is likely to exceed 100 million members from reported iPhone device sales figures, the complaint says.

Ma is seeking class certification and compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Adam Wang of the Law Offices of Adam Wang.

The case has been assigned to District Judge Ronald M. Whyte.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number: 5:14-cv-03344

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at classactions@legalnewsline.com.

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