Apple is facing a third class-action lawsuit over claims that the tech giant collects user data even with App Tracking Transparency turned off, reports Gizmodo.
The new case is filed in New York state and asks for US$5 million in damages.
Tests from researchers revealed that turning off the setting did not affect analytics data sent from Apple apps, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, and others. While Apple promises that the information can’t identify a user, the data is reportedly transmitted with a permanent ID number that is tied to iCloud accounts, according to Gizmodo.
Paul Whalen, the attorney suing Apple in the New York suit, told Gizmodo he’s worked on a number of high-profile data breach cases over the last 20 years, matters that often involve unintentional errors. This isn’t one of those cases, he said.
“Those data breaches happened in large part because someone made a mistake that shouldn’t have occurred,” Whalen said. “In this case, with Apple, there doesn’t appear to be a mistake. Apple knowingly promised one thing and did exactly the opposite. That is what makes this case feel so very different.”
The first lawsuit was filed in March 2022. It alleged that Apple records users’ private activity on mobile applications without their consent and despite its privacy assurances in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act.
Elliot Libman charged in the lawsuit that Apple assured users that they are in control of what information they share when they use mobile apps, but that those assurances are “utterly false.”
“Privacy is one of the main issues that Apple uses to set its products apart from competitors,” the lawsuit said. “But Apple’s privacy guarantees are completely illusory.”
Apple’s iPhones and other devices contain settings that purport to disable all tracking and sharing of app information, but the tech giant continues to collect, track, and monetize their data even after consumers have chosen to disable sharing, per the lawsuit. The lawsuit notes that security company Mysk found that Apple’s analytics controls above and other privacy settings had no obvious effect on Apple’s data collection—the tracking remained the same whether iPhone Analytics was switched on or off.
The second lawsuit was filed earlier this month in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court. It also alleges that Apple records users’ private activity on mobile applications without their consent and despite its privacy assurances in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act.