New class action suit claims Apple sells customer info

apple store

Three men from Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against Apple this week. Adam Christensen, Jeffrey Scolnick and William Farrell claim that they were unlawfully forced to enter their zip code while making purchases at the company’s New England retail stores.

The suit contents that this practice is illegal under the Massachusetts Unfair Trade Practices Act, which says you can’t compel customers to provide identifiable information. And the men say that Apple isn’t just collecting info, it’s also selling it to third parties…

Here’s the part of Apple’s privacy policy that the suit takes issue with:

“At times Apple may make certain personal information available to strategic partners that work with Apple to provide products and services, or that help Apple market to customers.”

And here’s an excerpt from the plaintiffs’ filing (via Patently Apple):

“First, Plaintiffs and the Class have been injured because they have received unwanted marketing materials from Apple as a result of having provided their zip codes when using credit cards at Apple. Second, Plaintiffs and the Class have been injured by Apple’s sale of Plaintiffs’ and the Class’ PII to third-parties, which was collected by Apple in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93 § 105(c). And third, Plaintiffs and the Class have been injured because Apple misappropriated their economically valuable PII [Personally Identifiable Information] without consideration.”

The group is looking to make this a class action suit, and it wants Apple to pay damages of up to $75 per violation (with interest), lawyer fees, and “other relief.” The men are also seeking an injunction that would force Apple to stop collection zip codes in their state.

For me, this just sounds like a couple guys looking to cash in on a technicality. Unless I’m misunderstanding something here, I don’t see what the big deal is. I have to enter my zip code all the time when making credit purchases, and a lawsuit never crossed my mind.

What do you make of all of this?