Apple faces class action lawsuit alleging it tracks users despite privacy safeguards

Apple faces class action lawsuit alleging it tracks users despite privacy safeguards

Apple is facing a proposed federal class action lawsuit alleging that it records users’ mobile activity without their consent and despite privacy safeguards, in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act, reports Bloomberg.

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In a lawsuit brought by New York citizen and iPhone 13 owner Elliot Libman, Apple is accused of “completely falsely” ensuring that users are in control of the information they share when they use its original iPhone apps.

Specifically, the class action claims that Apple’s mobile device options to disable device analytics sharing and disabling settings such as “Allow apps to request tracking” do nothing to prevent Apple from continuing to collect data. data relating to browsing and user activity. for monetization purposes. From the complaint:

Apple records, tracks, collects, and monetizes analytics data, including browsing history and activity information, regardless of what safeguards or “privacy settings” consumers take to protect their lives private. Even when consumers follow Apple’s own instructions and disable “Allow apps to request tracking” and/or “Share [Device] Analytics” on their privacy controls, Apple nevertheless continues to record consumer app usage, app browsing communications, and personal information across its proprietary Apple apps, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV , Books and Stocks.

To support its claims, the complaint cites a recent Gizmodo report covering the work of security researchers at software company Mysk. Earlier this month, researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry claimed to have found evidence that analytics control and anti-tracking settings had no obvious effect on Apple’s data collection in stock apps. above.

For example, according to researchers, the App Store app has continuously harvested a wealth of real-time usage data, including user clicks, apps searched, ads viewed, and how long a user watches an app. given. Along with these details, Apple would also be able to collect details typical of device fingerprinting methods including ID numbers, device model, screen resolution, installed keyboard languages and the type of Internet connection.

In another example, Mysk researchers said the Stocks app sent Apple a list of users’ stocks watched, stocks viewed, or searched for (including timestamps), along with a record of items. press consulted in the application. This information would have been sent to a web address via a separate transmission from the iCloud communication needed to sync user data across devices.

“Disabling or disabling customization options did not reduce the amount of detailed analytics sent by the app,” Mysk said. Gizmodo. “I have opted out of all possible options, i.e. personalized ads, personalized recommendations, and sharing of usage data and analytics.”

Researchers uncovered these findings using a jailbroken ‌iPhone‌ running iOS 14.6. Notably, while the team discovered similar ‌iPhone‌ activity on a non-jailbroken phone running iOS 16, the data was encrypted so it was not possible to determine exactly what was on it. This limitation, however, did not prevent the findings from taking legal action.

“Through its pervasive and illegal activity of tracking and data collection, Apple knows even the most intimate and potentially embarrassing aspects of the user’s use of the app, whether or not the user accepts the offer. Apple’s delusion to keep these activities private,” the complaint reads. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update this article if we get back to you.

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