27K South Koreans Sue Apple for $25M

Ever wonder why some apps ask for your location before you can access them?  Well I have.  It’s quite annoying actually but I never did allow it to use my location info.  Call it paranoia, I just don’t like the thought of someone knowing where I’m actually at.  Unfortunately, even if you ignore this prompt, they can still gather your location info.  This is the reason why South Korean lawyer, Kim Hyung-suk, and two others sued Apple for the unauthorized collection of location data, for which they received 1 million won ($946).

But the battle is not over as Kim and his law firm Mirae Law, together with 27,000 South Korean iPhone users, brought a class-action suit against Apple for security issues regarding the location tracking.  They are seeking for compensation of 1 million won per person.

Apple is denying the allegations stating that, “Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone,” it said. “Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so. … The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested.”

A similar class action law suit was filed against Apple in the US as two men from Florida accused Apple of unauthorized data gathering.  The basis of their lawsuit is that the privacy policy for iOS 4 contains a clause stating that Apple will collect anonymous “diagnostic and usage information” from users.  The privacy policy’s wording deceives users into believing that their every move would not be tracked by Apple.

This data collection is really quite concerning. Honestly, why the need for acquiring location data when you just want to play a simple game on your device?  For the sake of statistics?  Infographics?  People don’t care much about those things, though Apple might.  Consumers, on the other hand, care more about security and privacy.  For those consumers that are aware of the long-term ramifications of location gathering from mobile device providers, they’re early advocates of an issue that won’t soon dwindle.