Judge Dismisses Consumer Lawsuit Regarding Apple’s Data Privacy


There are few tech terms more loaded than “user privacy” here in 2013.

Back in January Cult of Mac reported that Apple had lost its spot on a list of the 20 most trusted companies when it comes to user information. That was long before the revelations of Edward Snowden and PRISMgate (the subject of an entire recent issue of our Newsstand magazine), which made everyone super-jumpy about data collection and what it means for personal liberties.

Well, although there is clearly much work that needs to be carried out in this arena, thankfully we’re not all reaching the point of hysteria — as evidenced by U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh’s November 25 dismissal of a consumer lawsuit which alleged that Apple had violated its privacy policy, and inflicted harm on its users in the process.

The case itself dates back to 2011 — with the plaintiffs accusing Apple of designing its iOS environment specifically to transmit personal information to third parties where it could be collected and analyzed without user consent or detection.

They also attempted to claim for damages by arguing that they paid too much money for their iPhones, according to court documents.

In the end, Koh made her ruling based on the fact that the plaintiffs were unable to show specific examples of damages — commenting that:

“Plaintiffs must be able to provide some evidence that they saw one or more of Apple’s alleged misrepresentations, that they actually relied on those misrepresentations, and that they were harmed thereby.”

This case is one part of nation-wide litigation that Koh is overseeing, consolidating 19 related lawsuits.

Neither lawyers for the plaintiffs or for Apple have made official statements following the decision.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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