Following a recent report by unbiased researchers that found Apple was tracking users in its mobile apps even when they explicitly set their iPhone privacy settings to turn tracking off, a new lawsuit has been filed challenging the company’s data collection practises. Elliot Libman, the plaintiff in a proposed class action lawsuit, is suing on behalf of himself and other harmed consumers, claiming that Apple’s privacy guarantees are illegal under the California Invasion of Privacy Act.
App developers and independent researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry found, as Gizmodo reported last week, that even when users turned off an iPhone Analytics setting that claims to “disable the sharing of Device Analytics altogether,” Apple was still collecting information about their users across a number of first-party apps.
The researchers tested a variety of Apple-developed applications, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books, and Stocks, and discovered that turning off this setting and other privacy controls had no effect on Apple’s data collection.
Apple’s device settings state that if a user disables either the iPhone or iPad Analytics, Apple will “disable [the sharing of] Device Analytics altogether.”
Additionally, users are led to believe that if they disable other settings, such as “Share [Device] Analytics” or “Allow Apps to Request to Track,” Apple would stop collecting their data. Apple “continues to record consumers’ app usage, app browsing communications, and personal information in its proprietary Apple apps,” specifically the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books, and Stocks, the lawsuit claims, despite configuring these privacy controls.
The lawsuit asserts that Apple’s assurances and promises regarding privacy are “utterly false” in light of these new revelations. It also noted that this level of data collection was inconsistent with accepted industry norms because the analytics settings of both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge prevented them from gathering the same kind of information.