Apple Faces Another Lawsuit Over Improper iTunes Data Disclosures
Apple is no stranger to class action lawsuit; it's caught in a legal row right now that has to do with the so-called loop disease defect on the iPhone 7 smartphone. Apple is also facing an EU probe into antitrust complaints raised by Spotify. Apple is now facing another lawsuit that pertains to iTunes.
Apple is being sued by three iTunes users who allege that Apple disclosed their listening habits to advertisers. The three people suing Apple are from Rhode Island and Michigan, and the trio claims that Apple violated laws protecting records of entertainment purchases in those states. The three are seeking class-action status with other residents of those states.
The lawsuit alleges that Apple released personal listening information directly to third parties and also granted app developers access to iTunes libraries via the Media Player framework. The suit also speculates that the reason plaintiffs receive unsolicited junk mail is based in part on their listening history being shared by Apple. However, data brokers are said to be able to get information from many sources, and iTunes user data could have been obtained via financial records not directly related to Apple.
Apple does have documentation in place for Media Player that tells developers they need permission from users to access music libraries. Apple also tells the devs that they aren't permitted to use the information about the audio content of a user account for anything other than audio playback on their apps.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that Apple makes it too easy to gather data via iTunes. They say this is in stark contrast to Apple's vocal pro-privacy stance. The suit points to the Apple ad that claimed "what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone" with the plaintiffs noting that the ad is "plainly untrue."