Apple sued over iPhone GPS tracking

Well, you had to know that was coming. As Bloomberg reports, Apple has been sued over the iPhone GPS information retention that came to light last week.

Officially, Apple claims (PDF) that iPhone GPS information is, in certain cases, gathered anonymously and transmitted to its servers in an encrypted fashion. Apple also says the information isn't retained. However, as developers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden revealed recently, iPhones keep an unprotected record of everywhere they've been on the devices themselves.

According to Bloomberg, the two folks who filed the lawsuit against Apple on April 22—Vikram Ajjampur and William Devito—go one step further. They claim Apple is "secretly recording movements of iPhone and iPad users."

"We take issue specifically with the notion that Apple is now basically tracking people everywhere they go," Aaron Mayer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said today in a telephone interview. "If you are a federal marshal, you have to have a warrant to do this kind of thing, and Apple is doing it without one."

As you might expect, the plaintiffs are pushing for their lawsuit to receive class-action status. If they succeed, just about any iPhone or iPad user in the United States could be represented—and receive a part of the settlement, if settlement there is.

Comments closed
    • DonnaT
    • 9 years ago

    Interesting how this issue has blown over so quickly. We are in the [url=http://www.repairzoom.com/<]iPad Repair[/url<] and [url=http://www.repairzoom.com/<]iPhone Repair[/url<] business and it's interesting just how many people are NOT careful with confidential data. Most security breaches are due to lax security procedures on the part of customers... NOT big-brother-technology companies trying to follow you around.

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 9 years ago

    “Ohhhh no, Steve knows where i’ve been. I’ve been tracked in a BlackBerry store. I was asking for a RIM job, honnest Steve…”

    You Americans will really sue anyone for just about anything! πŸ˜› Really, this isnt news – Phones have been able to track your movements all over the Cell network without even needing GPS for over a decade. Just Google CellTrak for Nokia’s to give you an early example that existed years ago.

    All the phone companies know where you go, and they don’t need GPS to do it…

      • internetsandman
      • 9 years ago

      I agree, Americans are the cocky bastards of law, looking to pick a fight absolutely anytime and anywhere for the must ridiculous or mundane reasons. I know a couple of people that once went to the states to teach law classes, and each of them reported that the mentality of their students were simply horrible. Almost nobody was taking the class to actually learn about the systems of law, how they function and how to make a career out of it. They were all looking to learn more simply to be more succesful whenever they happened to file a lawsuit. It’s sickening.

      An example of this actually happened in the very store in which I work. An American family was visiting, and shopping in my store, and at one point their daughter fainted and fell over on a product display, destroying it. Not only did the family refuse both first aid AND ambulance treatment for their daughter, it was later discovered they had intentions to sue the company for the display that their daughter fell onto and destroyed.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      It isn’t that they can track you, it’s that they are and are storing the data.

      Unless they explicitly tell you they are going to do this in the EULA, it’s illegal.

      As for the number of law suits in the US. It’s actually an American tradition dating back to 1700s. We have (some) faith in our government to fix injustices.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    quick buy a i-phone πŸ˜›

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      “quick buy an i-phone”

      there, fixed it for you.

      edit for comma πŸ˜›

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    [url<]http://wmpoweruser.com/unlike-apple-microsoft-does-not-track-wp7-users/[/url<]

      • grantmeaname
      • 9 years ago

      apple doesn’t track wp7 users.

      • A_Pickle
      • 9 years ago

      Too bad Windows Phone 7 is just stupid.

        • ludi
        • 9 years ago

        Nah. It works fine.

    • crabjokeman
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t see this going anywhere. America is all about depriving people of civil liberties in the name of protecting corporate interests. “This land was made for you and me” (if you happen to be a Fortune 500 company).

    • Neutronbeam
    • 9 years ago

    iPhone EULA…

    [url<]http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/iphone.pdf[/url<] ...4.(b) EDIT--fixed URL.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Nevermind – you edited the url

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      THAT THING IS 159 PAGES…… how can they honestly expect anyone to understand what they’re agreeing to? such EULA’s should be illegal. it’s not clear at all.

        • ludi
        • 9 years ago

        SOP is to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the license, and then let the courts decide which portions to throw out. Unfortunately that’s the way things work once the lawyers become involved.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      I’m guessing this part is the trouble “The location data collected by Apple is collected in a form that does not personally identify you.”

    • Da_Boss
    • 9 years ago

    Not to crap on the “Apple tracks me” parade, but I think people are forgetting something. In order for people to have access to your location info, they’d have to first have access to your iDevice or the computer it syncs to–this is at least my understanding, from what I’ve read.

    If that’s actually the case, then there’s so much more I’d be concerned about if people got a hold of my devices. I mean, who cares if they know where I’ve been if they have all my emails, texts, passwords, personal information, creative work, etc..

    Personally, this situation is a tad overblown for my taste. It just doesn’t concern me as much as other more immediate consequences would if my iPhone/Mac were taken.

      • Bauxite
      • 9 years ago

      Don’t speed in Michigan.

      Actually, given that you would have to fight any traffic incident in court after the fact (like rolling on a stopsign, or one of many other “can pull anyone over if they want to” officers-word-vs-citizen tickets) don’t visit Michigan at all.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8[/url<] So glad Apple came to deliver us from the evil Microsoft. oh, wait...

      • FubbHead
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah. it’s funny. πŸ™‚

      Although AFAIK, IBM was evil corporation back in those days, and the target of that commercial.

        • dpaus
        • 9 years ago

        It just goes to show the truth of that old saying: ‘Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          Yeah – even Google is pretty evil these days

        • Sargent Duck
        • 9 years ago

        ahh, I always thought it was against Microsoft. I guess that’s what I get for having a Mac fan show me that commercial.

        What do you mean “was”?

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    HAHAHA.

    [url=http://theswash.com/2011/04/25/your-cellphone-has-been-tracking-you-for-nearly-a-decade/<]Your Cellphone Has Been Tracking You For Nearly a Decade[/url<] Under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the FCC mandated that by October 1, 2001 a quarter of all new cellphones be equipped with GPS functionality that would allow authorities to track the location of users. By the end of 2002, this became a mandatory requirement of all new cellphones. Since [url=http://www.pcworld.com/article/55986/will_big_brother_track_you_by_cell_phone.html<]2001[/url<] it's been required by law for all cell phones to be able to track you. Not only that, but they have the capability to be remotely activated so that the gov. can spy on your conversations even when the phone is idle. It's not just apple, they're all doing it. Apple is just taking advantage of what they are already required to do. Also some other capabilities that the gov. can do: Drive by stealing of all your personal data on your phone/pda. A cop driving by with special equipment can pull every piece of personal data off your phone. It's warrantless wiretapping. They don't even need reasonable suspicion. They just dragnet everybody. I wouldn't doubt google's wardriving had gov. involvement as well. We already know they're a NSA front, and possibly CIA considering their involvement with eastern revolutions. The gov. also spies on your kids via the mics and cameras from "free" gov. issued laptops from schools, anything transmitted over game consoles, OnStar, as well as tracks you via street cameras with facial recognition software. We live in a total surveillance grid now. Yup. Wake up people. We don't live in the land of the free, home of the brave, but land of the [url=http://youtu.be/sE6MKwW2nfQ<]slaves[/url<], home of the cowardly jellyfish. Just sit back sucking your thumb until the TSA shows up at your local bus stop with naked body scanners. (and they are planning on it.) When will you all realize that we are living in [url=http://youtu.be/ntCYiegLcxw<]Nazi Germany[/url<]?

      • Jigar
      • 9 years ago

      Since when did Apple became Authority ?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        The point is it’s been going on for much longer than there’s been an iPhone.

      • Waco
      • 9 years ago

      Rants like this are both entertaining and saddening. Do people really believe this crap?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      Amazing! It’s like I can see exactly when you put on your tinfoil hat. You were much more fun when your only off the wall rants were about MS taking away EAX.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 9 years ago

        You’re an idiot. I never ranted about MS “taking away” EAX, which never happened since EAX is an extension over any hardware accelerated audio api. I ranted on how emulating EAX, or alternative sound engines were not delivering the same results as using real EAX, which is 100% true. It doesn’t really matter now, since OpenAL can give you similar effects in software, but that didn’t exist back then.

        As for “when I put on my tinfoil hat”, it was exactly when the gov. passed the Patriot Act, bypassing all our rights by labeling you a “terrorist”. Just ignore Anwar al-Awlaki dining at the pentagon, the Libyan rebels being Al-Qaeda, the FBI setting up patsies and running entire terrorist operations, bombs included. The whole police state thing is a joke.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 9 years ago

          “You’re an idiot.”

          The battle cry of everyone who would be taken seriously. Note: especially effective as the opening argument.

          I really like how it took you six edits and about 25 minutes to rewrite a post that had already made its point with the first three words.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 9 years ago

            I do occasionally edit to add more content, but I wasn’t rewriting the entire argument there. Also, the idiot comment was directed at the EAX jab. I think MMO has an issue with creative, since he’s made similar comments before. The company may have shady practices, but the products are good. He doesn’t have much to stand on when he insults the product, especially when he says things that simply aren’t true. Things like that bother me, which is why I take issue with a lot of other stuff.

          • ludi
          • 9 years ago

          [quote<]As for "when I put on my tinfoil hat", it was exactly when the gov. passed the Patriot Act, bypassing all our rights by labeling you a "terrorist".[/quote<] In that case, you're really off the rails. Very little of the Patriot Act was cut from new material. It was mainly a codification of existing powers mingled with streamlining enhancements. If the government was [i<]really[/i<] out to get you, they could already do it with the array of acts already in place. The process was somewhat more disjointed before PATRIOT; the effects, not so much. History didn't begin the day you started remembering it, and yet here you are, talking like a young Kascynzki. What good is that?

          • MadManOriginal
          • 9 years ago

          Look, if you want to have a reasoned discussion about things that’s fine. I don’t entirely disagree with you about the state of things but I do disagree with the rediculous hyperbole and exagerration for effect.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      For anyone interested, the mandates mentioned in the rant above were for all cellphones to be able to [i<]report[/i<] their position when dialling 9-1-1. The mandate did not require positional reporting capability at any other time, and quite obviously did not require [i<]anyone[/i<] - let along a private corporation - to record a track of your movements.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 9 years ago

        And yet they are. Have you read the article?
        PS. [url=http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2011/tc20110421_195911.htm<]The "news" that iPhones and iPads keep track of where you go has been known in forensic circles for some time.[/url<] discussion: [url<]http://youtu.be/GynEFV4hsA0[/url<] [quote<]the data are actively being used by law enforcement agencies as part of their investigations. Levinson declined to divulge the names of those agencies but told me he had worked with "multiple state and federal agencies both in the U.S. and internationally."[/quote<]

          • ludi
          • 9 years ago

          He wasn’t refuting the fact that Apple has been up to something. He was correcting your blatant mischaracterization of why and what the cellular locating provisions were for — emergency tracking in response to a 911 call.

          As for the rest, it should be the pinnacle of obvious obviousness that if you carry a device with GPS, nonvolatile memory, and at least one other transceiver, it may have the capability to store a very precise location history and/or release it in response to a query. That doesn’t automatically mean that “they” are after you.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 9 years ago

            It’s not a mischaracterization. Emergency tracking is a ruse. The phone is “actively being used by law enforcement agencies”, so apparently you didn’t read that. Either way, all phones are built with the capability to track you in real time, exactly like the iphone is. They just haven’t been caught abusing it yet.

            On a side note, your “they” comment is blatantly disregarding “Homeland” “Security”, the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. Are you claiming these organizations don’t exist? Really? We damn well know that they do exist, they are spying on us, and if you get on the X list you’re screwed. Have you heard of the MIAC report?
            [quote<]The MIAC report specifically describes supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as β€œmilitia” influenced terrorists and instructs the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.[/quote<] also: [url=http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_700516.html<]Cranberry lawmaker asks why his rallies made terror list[/url<] [quote<] "This is the type of activity you hear so many people talk about when they say what they think is wrong with government," said Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. "Did they tap anyone's phone?" Metcalfe asked. "Have I been investigated since the rally?" [/quote<] "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." -Franklin

            • ludi
            • 9 years ago

            To be perfectly frank, I skimmed a few lines from your provided material and decided not to continue reading — too much, uh, [i<]poetic license[/i<] in regards to the presentation and interpretation of the available facts.

    • tanker27
    • 9 years ago

    Meh. It like this is news. Its like, “OMG! Did you know the police can track you down by IP Address!?”

    “OH NOES!”

    If anyone ever thought that you were anonymous with ANY phone you’re ignorant!

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      If anyone ever thought this had anything to do with being an anonymous phone user, well, do I have to say it? :p

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      There is a difference between the police tracking you down for a specific reason and apple keeping a database of every location the phone has been for no obvious reason at all, and not informing the user or letting them opt-in to such a scheme.

      • plasticplate
      • 9 years ago

      I think u completely missed the point. They may sue apple for whatever crappy reason they might and i am not supporting them one bit for that crap. But i AM really concerned about my tracking information falling into the wrong hands because of the way the data is stored on my Phone/PC.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    First off, they’re likely not going to get a class action, so the amount doesn’t matter.
    Second, they’re not going to go very far, so it’s really just some lawyer making money off of 2 guys. it’s in the EULA that they track you. you don’t need a warrant to be tracked if you agree to let somebody track you. this will go nowhere. I HATE the tracking, but there’s nothing they can do about it. apple’s not going to stop, they’ll just be a little more careful about how they store it.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      I’m not sure what’s in the EULA but just because it’s there doesn’t make it legal. Also, there’s a difference between real-time location based services and creating what is a lengthy database of all locations the device has been…the latter is what Apple does. One of the men who made a way to visualize his phone’s location said the database file (unencrypted on his Mac within iTunes) was exactly as old as his iOS 4 install…almost 10 months.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        i get that. I just don’t think they’re going to prove they did anything Illegal. Immoral, certainly, but i don’t foresee this going anywhere. apple will patch it and say sorry.

    • scribly
    • 9 years ago
    • Cyco-Dude
    • 9 years ago

    lol, you would be awarded a whole TWENTY CENTS! wouldn’t even be worth filing the paperwork.

      • scribly
      • 9 years ago

      See it more like a matter of principle
      These days big companies start suing people when someone reverse engineers part of their product and find something out
      It’s good to see something coming from the other side as well for once

    • tahir2
    • 9 years ago

    “and receive a part of the settlement, if settlement there is.”

    Didn’t realise you spoke Yoda.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Surprised, I am not. Suspected this, I always have.

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