A new class action has been filed against Apple Inc. by Joaquin Serrano of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, to seek redress for Apple’s systematic violations of state wiretapping, privacy, and consumer fraud laws.
According to the official court filing, Serrano’s lawyers claim that “This case relates to a flagrant violation of consumer privacy. Quite simply, Apple unlawfully records and uses consumers’ personal information and activity on its consumer mobile devices and applications (“apps”), even after consumers explicitly indicate through Apple’s mobile device settings that they do not want their data and information shared. This activity amounts to an enormous wealth of data that Apple collects and uses for its financial gain.
Consumers care about keeping their data private and are demanding more control over their data. Consumers are also becoming increasingly concerned that their private information is being used without their knowledge or permission.
“At Apple, we respect your ability to know, access, correct, transfer, restrict the processing of, and delete your personal data.” (emphasis added).
The Apple App Store “User Privacy and Data Use” page similarly declares:
“The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users to discover apps created by talented developers around the world. Apps on the App Store are held to a high standard for privacy, security, and content because nothing is more important than maintaining users’ trust.” (emphasis added).
Apple even provides specific instructions to users to explain how to control what data Apple collects. Apple tells users to turn off “Allow Apps to Request to Track” if settings if they so wish.
In addition, Apple makes an outright promise in its mobile devices’ settings: Apple states that it will “disable [the sharing of] Device Analytics altogether” if a consumer toggles or turns off “Share iPhone Analytics,” on an iPhone, or similar settings on other Apple mobile devices, like the iPad.
Yet, Apple does not honor users’ requests to restrict data sharing.
A recent test performed by two independent app developers at the software company Mysk revealed that even when consumers actively change their “privacy settings” and take Apple’s instructions to protect their privacy, Apple still records, tracks, collects, and monetizes consumers’ analytics data, including browsing history and activity information. These experts and their testing further showed that Apple continues to access consumers’ app usage, app browsing communications, and personal information in its proprietary apps, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books, and Stocks, even when consumers have affirmatively turned off “Allow Apps to Request to Track” and/or “Share [Device] Analytics” on their privacy controls.
Gizmodo broke the story on the issue on November 8, 2022. The issue has been reported in multiple news outlets since Gizmodo’s report, including The Verge, Engadget, and Fox News. As of the date of this filing, Apple still has not responded to or publicly refuted the reports.
Apple’s practices deceive consumers and its collection of data of users who have specifically followed Apple’s instructions to prevent sharing of its data constitute an unlawful interception of a communication and violate, inter alia, Pennsylvania’s wiretapping laws.
Plaintiff is an individual whose mobile app usage was tracked by Apple after affirmatively electing to turn off the “Allow Apps to Request to Track” and/or “Share [Device] Analytics” options.
Apple, through its tracking and hoarding of data, collected and monetized consumer information without Plaintiff and similarly situated consumers’ consent.
Plaintiff seeks damages and equitable relief on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated Apple device users in Pennsylvania (the “Class”), arising from Apple’s knowing and unauthorized copying, taking, use, and tracking of consumers’ communications and activity, and its knowing and unauthorized invasion of consumer privacy.”
Below is one of the photo images presented in the Class Action regarding Apple’s Privacy ad.
Causes for Action
- Count 1: Violation of Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act
- Count 2: Violation of Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law
- Count 3: Invasion of Privacy – Intrusion Upon Seclusion
- Count 4: Breach of Implied Contract
- Count 5: Unjust Enrichment
For more details on this case, review the full Class Action lawsuit filing presented below, courtesy of Patently Apple.