Apple hit by 27,000 user 'locationgate' lawsuit in South Korea

Newswire reports suggest that Western law firms and Apple user groups are watching details of the lawsuit unfold, with a possible view to taking action in the US and UK. Two test cases have been launched in the US and which have yet to reach the courts, Infosecurity notes.

As reported in April of this year, two security researchers discovered that the iOS operating system maintain a log of the iPhone and iPad's location – derived from on-device GPS, cell site triangulation and WiFi location data – which users were unaware of.

A week later Apple responded to a cacophony of media coverage and complaints, claiming that users of iPhones and iPads had agreed to the recording of the data when agreeing to its terms and conditions.

Later updates to the Apple mobile device operating system made the data log recording more overt, and allows users to turn off the data feeds, which Apple claims were purely there to improve the customer experience.

According to Businessweek, around 27,000 people have joined the class-action lawsuit against Apple's South Korean division, each seeking a million won (around $930) in damages. The firm representing the plaintiffs has been filed by Mirae Law and file in the city of Changwon, where the law firm is located.

“Apple was fined by South Korea?s telecommunications regulator on Aug. 3 and ordered to encrypt location data of people using iPhones to address privacy concerns. The company also came under scrutiny of regulators around the world after an April report by publisher O'Reilly Radar said iPhones record information about users' whereabouts, adding to legal disputes the company is involved in over patent infringements”, says the newswire.

The newswire adds that Apple was subsequently fined 3 million ($2,800) won for collecting the data even when some iPhone users turned off their location-recognition feature.

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