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Apple Lands itself into Legal Trouble Over Potential Data Breach

When iOS 10 was released, Apple just included a notice informing users that their data would be used this way

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A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

On behalf of all users, people from Rhode Island and Michigan in the US have filed a class action suit against Apple alleging a potential data breach situation and false advertising.

The suit is pegged to a recent Apple billboard put up in Las Vegas, promoting privacy that reads: “What happens on your iPhone, stays in your iPhone.”

However, Leigh Wheaton, Jill Paul and Trevor Paul in their suit claimed that Apple profits from releasing the extensive demographic data it has about its users, their full names, ages, and addresses, plus their history of music listening preferences, Apple Insider reported on Saturday.

People believe Apple’s advertising is untrue because “none of the information pertaining to the music you purchase on your iPhone stays on your iPhone”, the report said.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are seeking $250 for Wheaton and every user allegedly affected, plus $5,000 for the complainants.

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Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York, Aug. 1, 2018. VOA

Even though the suit does not establish how many people would be involved beyond “tens of thousands”, the filing says that the “aggregate amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000”.

To support the claim that Apple “sells, rents, transmits and/or otherwise discloses, to various third parties”, the suit includes details of such information being available to buy, the report added.

The suit has been filed against Apple in the US District Court, Northern District of California but the iPhone-maker has not commented on the lawsuit as yet.

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Earlier in 2016, iOS developer Ben Dodson filed a bug report to Apple saying that the current system could allow details of a user’s entire music database to be revealed.

When iOS 10 was released, Apple just included a notice informing users that their data would be used this way. (IANS)

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Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Found Continuously Sharing the Location Even After Being Blocked to do so

When questioned about this issue, Apple said the behaviour was expected

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iPhones are on display at an Apple store in Prince William Country, Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet) VOA

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro has been found to continuously collecting and transmitting its users location data even when the user has blocked it from doing so.

Security journalist Brian Krebs wrote about this on his blog recently, with an accompanying video revealing that the new iPhone continues to collect GPS data for certain apps and system services despite manual disablement of individual Location Services in iPhone Settings.

iPhone 11 Pro seeks GPS data even when an app’s Location Services switch is set to “never” request said information.

Krebs thinks it might be the result of new hardware brought in to support Wi-Fi 6, but he couldn’t confirm this was the case.

Apple’s privacy policy for the iPhone’s Locations Services says the iPhone “will periodically send the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers (where supported by a device) in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to be used for augmenting this crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations.”

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An Apple company logo is seen behind tree branches outside an Apple store in Beijing, Dec. 14, 2018. VOA

Krebs claims it is not possible to turn off location-based system services for certain services when using the iPhone 11 Pro.

“Apparently there are some system services on this model (and possibly other iPhone 11 models) which request location data and cannot be disabled by users without completely turning off location services, as the arrow icon still appears periodically even after individually disabling all system services that use location,” Kreb wrote.

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When questioned about this issue, Apple said the behaviour was expected.

“We do not see any actual security implications, it is expected behaviour that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled. The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings,” an Apple engineer said. (IANS)