Class Action Lawsuit #3 for Apple on iPhone Data Privacy

Apple is facing a third class-action privacy lawsuit after it was discovered that the company was collecting analytics data from iPhone users even after they denied permission.

Apple insists that all developers ask permission to collect analytics data, but security researcher Tommy Mysk found last year that the company was not playing by its own rules…

He discovered that Apple was collecting data from your iPhone with or without your consent.

Every time you set up a new iPhone, you are asked if you consent to Apple’s collection of analytics data. If you decline consent, you of course expect that no analytics data will be sent to Apple.

However, Mysk has found that Apple apps collect and send this data regardless of this setting. Indeed, he did not see any difference in the data being sent, regardless of whether the user chose to grant or deny permission.

The sheer amount of data collected was on par with that used by companies like Meta as a workaround to app tracking transparency (a practice known as device fingerprinting, which is banned by Apple).

Worse, the data collected by Apple contained potentially sensitive information.

Gizmodo notes that even this data can be sensitive, such as searching for apps related to LGBTQIA+ issues or abortion.

Class action privacy lawsuits

A class-action lawsuit was quickly filed in California alleging that Apple’s privacy guarantees are “completely illusory.”

This was followed by a second in Pennsylvania accusing Apple of violating “state wiretapping, privacy, and consumer fraud laws.”

Gizmodo reports that a third lawsuit has been filed in New York State.

Paul Whalen, the attorney who filed the New York lawsuit against Apple, told Gizmodo that he’s worked on a number of high-profile data breach cases over the past 20 years that often involve unintentional errors. He said that this was not one of those cases.

“These data leaks were largely due to someone making a mistake that shouldn’t have happened,” Whalen said. “In this case with Apple, there seems to be no mistake. Apple deliberately promised one thing, but did exactly the opposite. That’s what makes this case so special.”

Apple has so far declined to respond to requests for comment on the matter. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I didn’t see a single replay of his giant “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone” ad.

Earlier this month, the iPhone maker was fined in France for illegal data collection.