Apple Defeats iTunes Privacy Lawsuit

Siding with Apple, a federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by three iTunes users who accused the company of disclosing information about their purchases to data brokers.

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup in the Northern District of California said in a written ruling that the consumers who sued didn't offer enough facts to show that the company shared information about the material they listened to. He issued a final dismissal order earlier this week.

The move brings an end to a lawsuit filed in April by Rhode Island resident Leigh Wheaton and Michigan residents Jill Paul and Trevor Paul. The trio accused Apple of violating state privacy laws that prohibit companies from revealing information about residents' music purchases.

Wheaton and the others alleged in a class-action complaint that Apple discloses “the full names and home addresses of its customers, together with the genres and, in some cases, the specific titles of the digitally recorded music that its customers have purchased via the iTunes Store.”



The trio added that data brokers append the alleged Apple disclosures with other information about iTunes customers, and resell highly detailed lists of consumers.

Apple urged Alsup to dismiss the case at an early stage, arguing that the complaint was too conclusory.

Alsup agreed with Apple. “The complaint fails to plausibly allege with enough facts that Apple disclosed plaintiffs’ personal listening information to third-party data brokers and similar entities,” he wrote.

Apple's privacy policy says the company does not sell or transmit personally identifiable information. The company also says it enables ad targeting by assigning people to audience segments, and that those segments include at least 5,000 people.

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