Published by LawTechie - April 26, 2011 - LawTechie

iPhone in JailMediapost reports that not a week after it was revealed that the iPhone tracked users’ locations on a minute-by-minute basis and reported such locations back to Apple’s servers, Apple has been haled into federal court by users claiming breach of privacy. The complaint alleges:

It is unconscionable to allow Apple to continue unlawfully and without proper consent tracking plaintiffs and proposed class members… If Apple wanted to track the whereabouts of each of its products’ users, it should have obtained specific, particularized informed consent such that Apple consumers across America would not have been shocked and alarmed to learn of Apple’s practices in recent days.

It will be interesting to see how this case fairs at the motion to dismiss stage since it is highly unlikely that Apple’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy did not include a disclosure to users of the above iPhone functions. At a time when Privacy Policies are becoming increasingly long and complex, it is possible that a court will find that information as ostensibly private as a user’s physical location should require something more than standard boilerplate for the user to click “Accept…” perhaps something more akin to “specific, particularized informed consent?”

(Editor’s Note: When we enable the GPS feature on our Android, we receive a pop-up telling us that by selecting such services, we agree that third parties will have access to our locations… Perhaps this would function as specific, particularized informed consent as opposed to the standard TOS/Privacy Policy we largely ignored when we first turned our phone on at the store.)

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.


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