Law Street Media

Apple Collects Mobile Device Data Even When Users Restrict Sharing, Consumer Class Action Says

Apple's logo on a store window.

Bangkok, Thailand 21/12/2018 The logo of Apple brand in front ot First Apple store in Bangkok, Thailand.

A lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York seeks to hold Apple Inc. accountable for what it calls “a flagrant violation of consumer privacy.” Last week’s class action follows news that broke two months ago when independent app developers allegedly discovered that even after consumers choose to restrict Apple’s data collection, the company still records, tracks, collects, and monetizes their analytics information.

The filing contends that as consumer privacy concerns have escalated, Apple has sought to position itself as a leader by allowing users to control the information they share. In support, the complaint points to Apple’s privacy and other policies declaring the company’s intent to allow mobile device users to “‘know, access, correct, transfer, restrict the processing of, and delete [their] personal data.’”

Yet, the suit claims that Apple does not honor users’ requests to restrict data sharing. Reportedly, a recent test conducted by app developers at the software company Mysk revealed that Apple still tracks users’ analytics data even after they change their privacy settings. In addition, the developers allegedly found that Apple continues to access consumers’ app usage, app browsing communications, and personal information in its proprietary apps, including the App Store and Apple Music, even when consumers affirmatively turn off the relevant settings.

The suit says Gizmodo broke the story in early November 2022, and that it was subsequently picked up by multiple news outlets including The Verge and Fox News. To date, the filing says that Apple has still not responded to or refuted these reports.

The New York resident who filed suit, and whose mobile app usage was purportedly tracked by Apple after he turned off the relevant options, claims that the company’s practices deceive its customers and violate provisions of the New York General Business Law. In addition, he asserts that Apple benefited through its monetization of consumer information without consent.

The suit seeks to certify a class of New York device users similarly situated to the plaintiff. Counsel is Pollock Cohen LLP, Ahdoot & Wolfson PC., and Shub Law Firm LLC.

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