Apple Argues Consumers Not Harmed By Alleged Privacy Violations

Privacy-Keyboard-LockApple is again urging a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by iPhone and iPad users who allege their privacy was violated when their devices' unique identifiers -- 40-character strings of letters and numbers -- were transmitted to app developers and their affiliates.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in San Francisco last year threw out an earlier version of the potential class-action on the grounds that the users didn't show how they were harmed by the alleged transmissions. But the dismissal was without prejudice, which left the users free to beef up their allegations and try again.

They did so two months ago, when they filed an amended complaint alleging they were harmed because they wouldn't have paid as much as they did for iPads or iPhones had they known that the devices were capable of transmitting the information.

The consumers also argued that the transmitting data like gender, age, ZIP code, searches performed “and selections of movies, songs, restaurants or even versions of the Bible” consumed battery power, storage and bandwidth. 

But those assertions aren't enough to prove economic injury, Apple argues. “Plaintiffs’ conclusory assertion that they somehow paid a 'wrongful premium' for their iPhones ... goes nowhere,” the company says in its papers. “Plaintiffs do not point to a single, specific misrepresentation Apple allegedly made at the time of purchase that materially influenced their decision making.” 

Apple also argues that its privacy policy confers “a broad right to collect, use and transfer both device identifier and location-related information.”

Mobile developers who were sued likewise asked for the case to be dismissed. They call the new complaint “an amorphous policy critique and generalized grievance about the core business model of the mobile application industry as a whole -- an industry that provides the economic backbone to a mobile app marketplace accessed by millions of smartphone users every day.”

2 comments about "Apple Argues Consumers Not Harmed By Alleged Privacy Violations".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from, network, January 23, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.

    Taking Apple's point a bit further, if I buy a pair of Nike shoes, and Nike has installed a transmitter into the shoes that shows my location while wearing the shoes, and they argue that the info helps them determine how the shoes are used, the courts would be OK with that? I certainly hope not.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, January 24, 2012 at 7:45 p.m.

    According to the Supreme Court just the other day, Apple and all of the other location based services may have to get a warrant or a variation thereof every time electronic following takes place. Not everyone realizes or knows or explained upon purchase that even with permission how far their permission goes.

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