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Lawsuit Claims Apple Sold iTunes Info

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: A customer views the iPhone X upon its release in the U.K on November 3, 2017 in London, England. The iPhone X is positioned as a high-end, model intended to showcase advanced technologies such as wireless charging, OLED display, dual cameras and a face recognition unlock system. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
By Ceylan Pumphrey, Esq. on May 31, 2019

From covering up data breaches to data mining, big tech companies are no strangers to negative press. This is especially true with how easy it is to access people's information when they use apps or the internet to use these companies' products.

The most recent company to be accused of improperly using their customer's data is Apple. More specifically, customers have filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Apple sold their information on iTunes to third parties. They seek more than $5 million in damages.

What's Apple's Privacy Policy?

According to its privacy policy, Apple only collects "non-personal information" that isn't directly connected to individual users. Also according to the policy, Apple reserves the right to "collect, use, transfer, and disclose that non-personal information for any purpose." This information is used by Apple to help provide more useful information to customers and understand which of the company's products and services customers are most interested in. However, the recently filed lawsuit is alleging that Apple did much more than just use non-personal information to improve their own services and products.

The Allegations Against Apple

Three iTunes users from Rhode Island and Michigan claim that Apple was mining and selling that information to third parties, which was in violation of their states' privacy laws. More specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the company discloses "the full names and home addresses of its customers, together with the genres and, in some cases, the specific titles of digitally-recorded music that its customers have purchased via the iTunes Store."

The plaintiffs also claim that Apple has provided app developers with access to data about media stored on iPhones, iPads, and iPods. According to the lawsuit, this data, along with the information used to sign up for an app, can be used "to build out their own profiles on music purchasing behavior," and the developers could potentially resell this data to data brokers.

And, why does Apple engage in this behavior? Well, according to the complaint, it's a way for Apple to supplement its revenues. In fact, the plaintiffs allege that "Apple profits handsomely" from this unauthorized use of its customers' data.

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