Apple pays man over iPhone tracking claim

14 Jul 2011

Apple has paid US$945 (1m won) after being ordered to do so by a South Korean court for inadvertently tracking the user’s location via his iOS device.

The user filed his lawsuit in late April, alleging Apple violated his privacy.

In April, researchers found out that 3G iPhones and iPads with iOS 4 had been keeping track of their owners’ locations, recording longitude-latitude positions with timestamps in a database file stored on these devices over a period of at least a year.

This isn’t the only case taken since the location revelation came to light. Vikram Ajjampur, an iPhone owner in Florida and William Devito, an iPad owner in New York, sued Apple on 22 April for invasion of privacy and computer fraud in a federal court in Florida to prevent this from happening in the future.

Apple promptly responded to the location data issue on its iOS devices, saying the database is a cache of crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers. It promised to change this in a software update.

It did so with the release of iOS4.3.3 in early May.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years