The Korea Herald


Korean iPhone users sue Apple

By 황장진

Published : April 29, 2011 - 09:26

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A group of Korean iPhone users on Thursday filed a class action lawsuit against U.S. telecom giant Apple Inc. and its Korean unit over the firm's allegedly illegal collection of users' location data.

It will be the first such case in the country.

"We learned that our whereabouts over the past six months were entirely revealed. It's a privacy violation," said legal representatives of 29 plaintiffs in a statement submitted to the Seoul Central District Court. "The location information harvested by iPhone is not encoded and is accessible to anybody who uses an iPhone Tracker program. The data can be an invasion of private life and be abused for crime."

"The defendant (Apple Korea) collected users' location information through iPhones without their content and refused to disclose where it was used and why the data was collected. This violates the country's Act on the Protection, Use, Etc., of Location Information," they said, demanding a total of 23.2 million won ($21,600) in compensation.

Last week, two British experts revealed that iPhone stores information about the movement and location of its owners without their knowledge, sparking mobile privacy concerns throughout the world. This data is stored on the device in the system file called "consolidated.db."

In the U.S., two citizens have taken similar action earlier this week, suing Apple over the company's location information tracking.

Korea's communications authorities also launched a probe into Apple's controversial collection of geopositioning information and required the company's formal explanation earlier this week, following similar actions in Germany and France.

But recent news reports said that Apple's CEO Steve Jobs denied the allegations.

The number of iPhone owners in Korea reached 2 million in late January since it was introduced in 2009. (Yonhap News)