updated 09:45 am EDT, Wed August 17, 2011
Apple sued by group over iPhone location in Korea
Miraelaw made good on warnings it would launch a mass lawsuit against Apple over iPhone location data. The claim is seeing 26,691 people each claim one million South Korean won ($932) in damages for allegedly collecting personal location info without permission. Combined, the group is asking for about $25.2 million in collective damages, although the final tally after all costs are factored in could climb to about $25.7 million.
The mass action followed after Kim Hyeong-seok, one of the lawyers in the case, himself earned the same amount. Korea had fined Apple $2,828 in a symbolic gesture over the same issue.
An initial hearing is due in October or November. Miraelaw is hoping to bring in more claimed victims to the lawsuit by the time it's ready to start trial. About 921 beyond the current figure are underage and would need to get permission to go ahead.
The lawsuits began after users found that iOS was keeping location data as much as a year after it was recorded, in part because Apple had over estimated the amount of cache it needed. Data kept going even if location services were formally turned off. Apple fixed these with iOS 4.3.3 but won't have avoided disputes over its earlier practices.
Action in the US has been much softer, since the actions haven't necessarily been illegal. Apple might face trouble elsewhere, as France is investigating the problem and might take action if it thinks Apple did enough to jeopardize privacy by collecting more position info than necessary.