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Should Apple Inc (AAPL) Celebrate This Victory?

November 29, 2013 | About:


A Federal Judge in California has dismissed the consumer lawsuit over the data privacy issues against Apple Inc (AAPL) saying that the plaintiffs had not been able to show that they had relied on some alleged company-misrepresentations and that they had actually suffered any harm. In 2011, the 4 plaintiffs had claimed that the company had violated the privacy policy.

They said that the iOS environment had been designed in such a manner that it was very easy to transmit users’ personal information to various 3rd parties who are in the business of collecting and analyzing this information without the consent of the users. The claim also was that they had suffered damages by shelling out too much money for their handsets and had ended up losing storage space.

Insufficient evidence

Judge Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court in San Jose in California dismissed the case. She said that the plaintiffs have to be able to provide evidence that the saw any of these alleges misrepresentations. The other thing that she stated in her 25th November ruling was that they also have to be able to prove that they actually relied on these representations and that they have been harmed by them. There were no comments forthcoming from either the plaintiff’s lawyers or from Apple Inc (AAPL).

This particular case is one part of the nationwide litigation that is being overseen by Judge Koh and consolidates 19 other related lawsuits. Apple is not the only company facing lawsuits such as this one. Many other big tech companies like Yahoo! Inc (YHOO), Google Inc (GOOG), Facebook Inc (FB) and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) have also been caught in the fray regarding privacy and location data.

The PRISM program

All of this emerged in the wake of some news regarding a United States government program known as PRISM which allowed the NSA direct access to their user data on the corporate servers from the large technology companies. Since that point of time, Apple Inc (AAPL) and all other companies have reiterated their statements regarding customer privacy. The company says that no agency has any direct access to their customer data and that every request for any data by the law enforcement agencies is first thoroughly scrutinized by the company’s legal team and the legitimacy of the claim is determined.

The geo-location function

The Geo-location function on the iPads and iPhones came under the public scanner when customers complained that Apple Inc (AAPL) was collecting data from their devices even when this function was turned off. Many tech savvy phone users say that the application never actually gets turned off at all even when they set it do so. They found that just killing or closing the app did not actually stop it from function and only uninstalling it might stop it from functioning on the devices. Now, if that isn’t a breach of privacy-what is?

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