Judge dismisses privacy lawsuit against Apple over location tracking

Frequent Locations settings

Reuters is reporting that US District Judge Lucy Koh has dismissed a privacy lawsuit against Apple this week. The suit alleged that the company was collecting location data through iOS devices, even when the geo-location feature was turned off.

Four plaintiffs joint-filed the suit—which is just one of several that followed Apple’s ‘Locationgate’ scandal—in 2011, complaining that not only was Apple tracking users’ location without consent, but they charged them too much for their iPhones…

Here’s Reuters with the report:

“A California federal judge has dismissed a consumer lawsuit over data privacy against Apple Inc, saying the plaintiffs had failed to show they had relied on any alleged company misrepresentations and that they had suffered harm. […]

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California dismissed the case.

“Plaintiffs must be able to provide some evidence that they saw one or more of Apple’s alleged misrepresentations, that they actually relied on those misrepresentations, and that they were harmed thereby,” Koh said in the November 25 ruling.”

Folks who have been following tech news for the last few years will likely recognize this image. It’s a screenshot of a computer program developed by a research team back in April 2011 that visualized the location data iOS was ‘secretly’ storing at the time.

iPhone Location Tracking

Of course, Apple went on to fix the issue—which it dismissed as just a bug preventing data in a cache file from being deleted—two weeks later with iOS 4.3.3. But not before it took major criticism from users, privacy advocacy groups, and the US government.

Privacy has remained a hot button issue in the tech world over the last few years, but it was brought back into mainstream discussion this summer when several companies were accused of granting the NSA unrestricted access to their private user databases.