A class-action lawsuit filed this week takes aim at Apple for storing some iCloud data on third-party servers.
The company is accused of breaching consumer trust to sell iCloud subscriptions. It states iCloud data will be “stored by Apple,” but offloads some of it to Amazon and other companies.
Apple promises that the data you upload to iCloud will be secure. It advertises “industry-standard security technologies” and strict policies to protect your information.
iCloud is “leading the industry by adopting privacy-preserving technology like end-to-end encryption for your data,” reads an iCloud security overview document on Apple’s website.
The same document notes that in some cases, iCloud data may be stored on third-party services. But its “Welcome to iCloud” legal agreement suggests only Apple will be looking after your data.
iCloud terms unclear on data storage
“When iCloud is enabled, your content will be automatically sent to and stored by Apple,” it reads. The legal agreement makes no mention of the fact that some data will be stored by others.
A new lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday, claims this misrepresents the nature of iCloud to Apple customers.
The complaint calls out iCloud’s data handling policies and Apple’s lack of transparency. It alleges that Apple misleads customers by making promises about their data that it cannot deliver.
The suit also notes that customers pay a premium for the Apple brand and its strict stance on data protection, only to have their data offloaded to other companies.
Apple ‘merely reselling cloud storage’
“Touting itself as the provider of the iCloud service (when, in fact, Apple was merely reselling cloud storage space on cloud facilities of other entities) allowed Apple not only to obtain paid subscriptions of class members who subscribed to iCloud believing that their cloud storage was being provided by Apple, but also allowed Apple to charge a premium for its iCloud service because subscribers placed a value on having the ‘Apple’ brand as the provider of the storage service for their most sensitive data,” the lawsuit reads.
Plaintiffs Andrea M. Williams of Florida and James Stewart of San Francisco, California, insist they were not informed their iCloud data would be stored on third-party servers. They say they would not have subscribed and paid the “Apple premium” had they have known about Apple’s strategy.
Apple confirmed in early 2018 that it relies on third-party services for iCloud data storage. But reports surrounding its data outsourcing date back to 2011, when the company was rumored to be in talks with Amazon and Microsoft over using their servers.