South Korean Lawyer Starts Class-Action Suit Against Apple Inc.

Jul 14, 2011

Apple Inc sued again

Apple Inc.'s South Korea unit last month paid about $950 to settle a court ruling in a case brought by a South Korean attorney who claimed damages over the disclosure earlier this year that the company's iPhone retained location information about users.

On Thursday, the attorney said he was starting a class-action suit against the company. The attorney, Kim Hyung-seok of Changwon, South Korea, said about 300 people expressed interest in joining the suit and that he hoped to win as much compensation for each of them as he got from Apple.

Apple didn't respond to the original lawsuit. As a result, the administrative court in Changwon ordered Apple to pay Mr. Kim 998,000 won, or about $942, within two weeks.

Apple sent Mr. Kim a check to comply with the court's order, a company spokesman in Seoul said, but made no other statements or acknowledgements in regard to Mr. Kim's claim. The Apple spokesman declined further comment.

Mr. Kim then set up a website to allow other South Koreans to join in a bigger lawsuit against the firm.

"I never agreed that my location can be tracked through iPhone. That means Apple tracked my location information illegally and it was an obvious invasion of privacy," Mr. Kim said in an interview.

Apple's retention of location data flared into a controversy in mid-April when data-safety researchers in the U.S. said iPhones stored months of location information in unencrypted form. Within a month, Apple changed the operation of the phone to retain only seven days worth of location information.

The location system is used in applications such as maps and navigation systems and to confirm user eligibility for features like watching TV broadcasts.

Mr. Kim said he filed his lawsuit soon after hearing news coverage of the finding by the U.S. researchers. Mr. Kim said he wasn't aware of using the location service for any apps.