updated 02:00 pm EST, Fri January 18, 2013
Shifts efforts to separate class-action lawsuit
A group of 29 Korean iPhone owners have withdrawn their location-tracking lawsuit against Apple in order to put the group's weight behind a different suit, reports say. The first case was filed against Apple in 2011, claiming that the company was enabling tracking without consent. Now, however, the group is backing down after failing to accumulate enough evidence, according to Korea's Yonhap News Agency.
The other, newly-invigorated case was first filed in Changwon, and is a class action covering about 27,000 iPhone owners. The lawyers in that case are seeking one million won ($944) per person, something that could end up costing Apple over $25 million if it loses. By joining up with the Changwon case, the group of 29 could potentially reap more money, as it was previously only asking for 800,000 won ($757) per person. The group also credits the switch to concern that a defeat in its own case would've impacted the Changwon dispute.
Apple may be in a tougher legal position despite having one less lawsuit to deal with. In July 2011, the company was ordered to pay one million won to a lawyer, Kim Hyung-suk, for tracking information on his iPhone. That incident has given other plaintiffs the ability to claim precedent.
The root of all the allegations can be traced to a problem with iOS 4, which was discovered to be keeping data an enterprising hacker could have used to learn where a person lives and works or other location information. No actual incidents of data scraping were ever discovered, and Apple maintained that the error was simply in not encrypting the data, but that it was never collected or used by the company or third parties, and limited to local GPS support. Subsequent updates closed up potential security holes, but not in time to prevent legal action, media outcry, and political controversy.