Apple Wins Skirmish In Apps Privacy Suit
Apple has won a round in a class-action lawsuit alleging that it enabled app developers to wrongly upload the address books and other data of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users.
U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuit last week, but also ruled that the consumer who sued can beef up the allegations and try again.
The case dates to March, when New Jersey resident Maria Pirozzi alleged in court papers that Apple failed to safeguard its iPhones and other devices. She alleged that Apple "induced" her to purchase a device, and download apps, "under the premise that [her] private information would remain confidential and would not be shared with third-party developers."
She brought the lawsuit several weeks after it came to light that Path, Hipster and other apps surreptitiously uploaded users' address books. Pirozzi alleged that she relied on Apple's representations that its products were secure, and that it monitored the apps it sold. (Several app developers are facing separate lawsuits for allegedly violating users' privacy by uploading their data.)
Apple argued that the case should be dismissed on several grounds, including that Pirozzi wasn't injured economically. But Pirozzi countered that she was harmed because she relied on Apple's statements when she decided to purchase her device.
Rogers said that allegation potentially could support a lawsuit, but ruled that Pirozzi hadn't fleshed them out with enough details -- including what type of device she had bought and the specific statements she read before making the purchase.
Pirozzi also alleged that she was injured because her personal information was "misappropriated," but didn't allege that any particular app developer uploaded her data.
Rogers ruled that Pirozzi would need to present those details in order to move forward with that claim.
"Should Plaintiff choose to proceed on the theory that she has been harmed by actual collection of her personal information, she will need to identify which of the apple devices she used, which apps she downloaded that accessed or tracked her personal information (if any), and what harm (if any) resulted from the accessing or tracking of her personal information," Rogers wrote.
The judge gave Pirozzi until Jan. 22 to file new papers.