A BC woman is suing Apple Inc. for tracking data about her and her son via an iPod Touch and an iPhone 4, both of which came installed with Apple's iOS 4. Neither Amanda Ladas nor her son consented to Apple tracking data about their device usage and whereabouts, says her law firm Ganapathi and Company, when they commenced using the iPod Touch given to them in December 2010, or the iPhone 4 purchased in April 2011.
Apple defenders of the faith, while admitting the naughty behaviour of iOS 4, note that Apple has offered free upgrades to iOS 5 and iOS 6, both free of at least this bugbear. Ladas, implies at least one Apple bloggist, has procrastinated, so what the heck, this is a tempest in a teapot. Apple itself, however, has not responded to the suit filed in the BC Supreme Court. Given that Ladas filed this suit under the Class Proceedings Act, the Cupertino company will likely want to think very carefully before it speaks.
Ladas' suit further specifies that she and her son did not consent to their information being stored by Apple, and not only did Apple violate her and her son's security and privacy, the company "engaged in deceptive acts or practices" which entitles her and anybody else who joins the suit as a plaintiff "to aggravated, punitive and/or exemplary damages." Given that guesstimates of Apple hardware in Canada using iOS 4 range is between two and seven million units, and to be dissociated from a class action suit potential plaintiffs usually have to actively opt out, even a token award of $1 each to iOS 4 users could amount to a chunk of change.
The suit seems to be more than just an idle pursuit for a rainy day. It included supporting documents from four experts in digital forensics examination, information security, networking, systems administration, geographic profiling, and clinical and forensic psychology. One of the experts is Kim Rossmo, a Canadian criminologist specializing in geographic profiling, who in 1995 became the first police officer in Canada to obtain a doctorate in criminology.
"It's clear," says a quotation in a press release from Ladas' lawyers, "that Apple routinely and automatically collects sufficient information such that they can identify the real-world identity of the registered user of an iOS 4 device, as well as the device's physical location, at an update frequency of no less than once every six hours." The quote is from Eric Smith, listed by the law firm as an Information Security, Networking and Systems Administration Expert.
"Ladas is concerned that, without her permission, anyone with moderate computer knowledge can find out where she's been," the press release continues. "She considers the comings and goings of herself and her family to be personal and sensitive information."
Well, since Marketnews' readers are likely to be excused from jury duty given their prior knowledge of and interest in the issues, perhaps they can feel free to comment on this issue which is sub judice.