Now, when almost every company is facing the privacy heat, the latest one to face the dirt is Apple. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the company for “intentionally and unlawfully” disclosing people’s iTunes listening data to third parties.
The suit was filed by 3 people, two of them living in Rhode Island and one in Michigan. First reported by Bloomberg, it alleges that Apple has or is sharing the listening data without users’ consent. The said data could include details like name, age, address, and the history of iTunes music preferences.
As per the lawsuit, the data is sold at around $136 for a list of 1000 people. For example, a third party could rent “a list with the names and addresses of all unmarried, college-educated women over the age of 70 with a household income of over $80,000 who purchased country music from Apple via its iTunes Store mobile application,” the lawsuit reads.
This sharing could invite unwanted attention from telemarketers, the plaintiffs argue. Also, third parties could make the situation even more concerning by adding more data related to the user. It’s claimed that user listings are further shared with other third parties for monetary gains.
The lawsuit represents all the affected iTunes users in the mentioned states. It demands compensation of $250/user in Rhode Island and $5000/user in the state of Michigan.
Further, it also claims that Apple provided listening data access via its developer tools without taking any permission from the users. Back in 2016, David Benson reported the issue to the company and also wrote about it on his blog. But Apple sat on it for eight months after which it released a fix with iOS 10.
Apple is yet to comment on the latest development. On the other hand, at least publicly, Apple has always projected itself as a company that protects user privacy and doesn’t collect any unnecessary data from its users.
The news comes not long after Apple designed a new tool that can track ads without invading people’s privacy. Let’s wait and see how things turn out in this case.