Apple iPhone-tracking lawsuit dismissed

Chris Davies - Nov 28, 2013, 3:00pm CST
Apple iPhone-tracking lawsuit dismissed

A lawsuit against Apple over iOS location tracking and infringed privacy has been dropped after two years, with the same judge that recently awarded the Cupertino firm $290m in damages from Samsung ruling that outraged iPhone users hadn’t demonstrated any legitimate violations. The case, filed back in 2011, saw four iOS users complain that their smartphones were transmitting location data even when the feature was ostensibly turned off, with devices storing up to a year of records in an undisclosed log file.

The allegations were based on a legitimate glitch in iOS, which was found to be recording locations from iOS 4.0 onward. Two developers spotted the issue, and cooked up an app which could extract the positioning data each iPhone or iPad 3G was secretly storing.

Apple patched the hole and subsequently encrypted location logs from iOS 5.0 on, but not before its actions brought it under scrutiny from the FTC and FCC. In Korea, a lawsuit was even successful against the company over the issue, though less than $3,000 in damages were awarded.

That still manages to look like a big win in comparison to the US case, however. Justice Lucy Koh dismissed the lawsuit, Reuters reports, ruling that the plaintiffs had not been affected in the way they alleged.

“Plaintiffs must be able to provide some evidence that they saw one or more of Apple’s alleged misrepresentations,” the judge wrote, “that they actually relied on those misrepresentations, and that they were harmed thereby.”

As well as privacy issues around location, the suit had also claimed that Apple had over-charged for the iPhone, and that the amount of storage space available to users was less than had been promised. In fact, the biggest result of the suit is probably that it gave South Park some free material along the way.

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