iPhone Users Lose Privacy Lawsuit Against Apple

Handing Apple a decisive victory, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing the company of failing to live up to the privacy promises it makes to iPhone and iPad users.

The consumers alleged in their lawsuit that Apple violated its privacy policy by allowing devices' unique identifiers to be transmitted to app developers and their affiliates. They argued they relied on Apple's representations that it protects users' privacy — and overpaid for their devices as a result.

But U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., ruled on Monday that the consumers hadn't shown that they read the privacy statements before buying their iPhones or iPads. She ruled that none of the consumers submitted enough evidence to show that they “read or relied on any particular Apple misrepresentation regarding privacy.

She also rejected the consumers' argument that they should be able to proceed based on Apple's alleged misrepresentations, regardless of whether they read the policies. “The Court questions how one can act in reliance on a statement one does not see, read, or hear,” Koh wrote in a 30-page decision granting summary judgment to Apple.

The lawsuit against Apple dates to December 2010, which was shortly after reports surfacedalleging that developers were able to access iPhone and iPad unique device identifiers. Last year, Koh dismissed a portionof the lawsuit, but ruled that consumers could proceed with claims that Apple violated two California consumer protection laws -- the state Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act. Those laws broadly prohibit companies from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts.

Apple's newest operating system blocks developers from accessing unique device identifiers. Instead, Apple offers “advertising identifiers,” which consumers can control by resetting or deleting.

Google also is facing a lawsuit for allegedly transmitting Android users' information to developers. That case is pending in front of U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco.


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