Apple is being sued for allegedly violating the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The act protects consumers from tech and other companies from collecting personal data. Gizmodo reported a number of Apple apps including the Apple Store, Apple TV, Apple Music, the iTunes Store, Books, and even Apple Stocks were all gathering users’ personal information regardless of whether or not the user had turned off iPhone Analytics. Apple was continuously tracking users’ activities, including what app was turned on, what was researched, how the app was discovered, and how long the user spent on the app.
The apps collected details like certain ID numbers, which allows Apple to trace users’ activities across the platform. They also gathered the phone model in use, as well as the language being used on the keyboard. The Stocks app discloses the type of stocks a user is tracking, the time the user logs on to check quotes and even any report or article the user reads about the company.
This contradicts the company’s stance on protecting consumers’ personal information. Especially since Apple had previously set itself apart from competitors by inventing a feature which allows consumers to control how much of their personal data is shared. Tommy Mysk, one of the researchers who discovered that Apple was tracking users’ personal data, revealed just how much detail Apple knows about an individual. “The level of detail is shocking for a company like Apple,” Mysk told Gizmodo.
Just last year, state legislatures passed about 27 bills regulating data markets and protecting the privacy of consumers. Apple itself has given users the ability to shut down data harvesters and their ability to track users’ activities. This Apple feature has made data security a market differentiator, as well as forced other app developers to adopt Apple’s strategy and incorporate a privacy feature.
Apple’s Tracking Transparency launch has benefited the tech giant by increasing its adoption by 4 percent to reach 94.8 percent on a yearly basis. If the researchers’ discovery turns out to be correct, and Apple is indeed held accountable for this claim, the multi trillion dollar company could face a huge fine under the class action which allows any iPhone user with a similar allegation against the company to join the legal action.