Will Apple Spill the Beans on Violations of Users’ Privacy?

Apple_privacyA judge overseeing a privacy lawsuit against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has ordered Apple to produce internal documents that detail exactly how it is complying with previous court orders to submit evidence for the case. Plaintiffs in the case are accusing Apple of collecting data on the locations of customers, even when their iPhones’ geo-location feature was supposedly shut off. Plaintiffs further contend that Apple allowed third parties to access customers’ personal information through the iOS on their iPad and iPhone devices.

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As reported by Bloomberg, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal noted that “luckily for the plaintiffs, Apple has provided more than enough evidence itself to suggest to the court that it has not fully complied with the court’s order. In light of Apple’s performance in this case, the court cannot rely on its representations that this time it really has or will produce all responsive documents.”

Apple admitted that it failed to produce six documents related to the Judge Grewal’s original order but said the omission was due to “inadvertence.” The missing documents included e-mails from Steve Jobs and other Apple executives.

Because of Apple’s recalcitrance in producing the requested evidence, Judge Grewal is now requesting that Apple provide explicit details for the processes it uses to collect the requested evidence. These details include specific dates, search terms, and individual names that were subjects in the search process…

Plaintiffs in the privacy lawsuit against Apple have also won the right to see heavily redacted documents that are related to Apple’s processes for reviewing apps for its mobile devices. Judge Grewal further ordered Apple to submit uncensored documents that may be seen only by attorneys if he deems it necessary for the protection of Apple’s trade secrets.

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In a separate filing related to this case, lawyers for the plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to designate the suit a class action. Apple, which argues that the plaintiffs cannot prove the users had their personal information collected and therefore cannot prove any harm, is asking the judge to deny the request.

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