Apple accused of ‘intentionally and unlawfully’ sharing iTunes listening data in new lawsuit

Apple accused of ‘intentionally and unlawfully’ sharing iTunes listening data in new lawsuit

Apple has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in which customers claim the tech giant is 'intentionally and unlawfully' sharing users' iTunes listeni

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Apple has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in which customers claim the tech giant is ‘intentionally and unlawfully’ sharing users’ iTunes listening data with third parties. 

Three iTunes users from Rhode Island and Michigan filed the federal lawsuit against the iPhone maker, aiming to represent hundreds of thousands of residents from their respective states who allege their data was shared without their consent, according to Bloomberg

The plaintiffs argue that by sharing what users play in iTunes and Apple Music, it allows for ‘the targeting of particularly vulnerable members of society.’ 

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Apple has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in which customers claim the tech giant 'intentionally and unlawfully' sharing users' iTunes listening data with third parties

Apple has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in which customers claim the tech giant 'intentionally and unlawfully' sharing users' iTunes listening data with third parties

Apple has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in which customers claim the tech giant ‘intentionally and unlawfully’ sharing users’ iTunes listening data with third parties

‘For example, any person or entity 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 states. 

‘Such a list is available for approximately $136 per thousand customers listed.’ 

Mail Online has reached out to Apple for comment on the lawsuit. 

In the filing, the plaintiffs say their allegations directly contradict with Apple’s claim that ‘what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.’ 

‘None of the information pertaining to the music you purchase on your iPhone stays on your iPhone,’ the lawsuit states. 

During the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January, Apple put up a conspicuous billboard on the Las Vegas Strip with that phrase, in an effort to tout its robust user data protections relative to the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon, who have all suffered privacy blunders. 

Apple’s privacy policy states that it collects ‘non-personal information’ that is not identifiable to any individual users and says that it reserves the right to use this data, which can include customer activities from the iTunes Store and other Apple marketplaces, for any purpose, according to Billboard

The firm says it does this to ‘help [Apple] provide more useful information to our customers and to understand which parts of our website, products and services are of most interest.’ 

In the filing, the plaintiffs say their allegations directly contradict with Apple's claim that 'what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.' Pictured is an Apple ad at CES this year

In the filing, the plaintiffs say their allegations directly contradict with Apple's claim that 'what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.' Pictured is an Apple ad at CES this year

In the filing, the plaintiffs say their allegations directly contradict with Apple’s claim that ‘what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.’ Pictured is an Apple ad at CES this year 

The suit alleges that Apple shares users’ listening data with third parties who can ‘supplement that information with additional sensitive personal information’ that’s collected by the firm.

‘The data Apple discloses includes 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 and then stored in their devices,’ the lawsuit notes.  

Many third parties take that information and sell it to other third parties for ‘further exploitation and monetization – all without providing prior notice to or obtaining consent from anyone,’ the filing continues. 

In doing so, the plaintiffs argue that it puts consumers are risk of being targeted by ‘fraudulent telemarketers, while Apple ‘profits handsomely.’

‘Such disclosures invaded Plaintiffs’ and the unnamed Class members’ privacy and have resulted in a barrage of unwanted junk mail to their home addresses and e-mail inboxes,’ the lawsuit states.  

The lawsuit seeks $250 each for Apple customers in Rhode Island and $5,000 each for customers in Michigan.  

Apple previously faced widespread backlash after it was discovered that a bug in its FaceTime video chatting app let users hear the person they were calling before they picked up.

HOW DID A TEEN DISCOVER APPLE’S FACETIME BUG? 

A teenager from Arizona uncovered a bug that turns iPhones into eavesdropping devices while trying to play a game of ‘Fornite’ with his friends.

Grant Thompson, a 14-year-old high school student in Tucson, wanted to chat with friends when he discovered a major bug in Apple’s popular Group FaceTime feature.

Thompson called his friend Nathan using FaceTime, but Nathan didn’t pick up on January 19.

Thompson then swiped up and added another friend, a move that instantly connected him with Nathan, whose phone was still ringing. 

Michele Thompson said she spent days trying to alert the tech giant to the glitch before it announced it was disabling the feature on Tuesday 

Michele Thompson said she spent days trying to alert the tech giant to the glitch before it announced it was disabling the feature on Tuesday 

Michele Thompson said she spent days trying to alert the tech giant to the glitch before it announced it was disabling the feature on Tuesday 

The youngster had discovered a bug that allowed him to force other iPhones to answer a FaceTime call, even if the other person doesn’t take any action.

Apple has since disabled the ‘Group FaceTime’ feature, and a software update to fix the bug is expected to be released.

Grant’s mother Michele, a lawyer, said she had tried repeatedly to contact Apple about the privacy glitch from the time her son discovered it to the company announcing that it was disabling the feature on Tuesday.

Thompson said she tried everything she could think of to get Apple’s attention. She emailed, called Apple and tweeted CEO Tim Cook and even faxed a letter on her law firm’s letterhead.  

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