By: Justin McHugh
Earlier this month on July 11th, Chinaâ€™s Central Television (CCTV) reported on software in Apple iPhones that allows for usersâ€™ locations to be tracked.Â The state-run CCTV report warned iPhone users that Appleâ€™s location-tracking software could be a potential security threat.
After the report aired raising security issues concerning the location-tracking functions of the iPhone 4 and newer models, Chen Ma filed a lawsuit for invasion of privacy against Apple.Â Maâ€™s complaint alleged that â€œShe was not asked for and thus has not given her consent, approval and permission nor was she even made aware that her detailed daily whereabouts would be tracked, recorded and transmitted to Apple database[s].â€Â Ma also referenced the CCTVâ€™s July 11th report in her complaint, stating that it was the report that brought the issue of Apple user location tracking to her attention.Â Maâ€™s complaint further states that â€œ[a]ccording to information and belief, iPhone users are not given any meaningful choice enabling them to turn off the location service without substantially compromising [a] significant number of functionalities of iPhones.â€
After the CCTVâ€™s report aired, Apple responded by stating that it does not actually track iPhone usersâ€™ locations.Â Apple further stated that its iPhoneâ€™s tracking capabilities are merely there to provide directions or to assist users in finding their current whereabouts.Â However, these comments seem to contradict other statements made by Apple where the company stressed that it will not disclose any information that they have collected on iPhone usersâ€™ daily whereabouts to any third party members.Â
It remains to be seen whether or not Chen Maâ€™s lawsuit will be dismissed for similar reasons cited in the aforementioned 2011 lawsuit against Apple.Â However, Ma is undeterred by this prior ruling and is currently seeking class certification for her lawsuit.Â Ma is seeking class certification for the roughly 100 million iPhone users who Ma says Apple has violated their privacy.Â Additionally, Ma is seeking an injunction that would prevent Apple from collecting and storing iPhone usersâ€™ private information without first giving them notice, and from sending their data to a third party without their prior permission.Â Along with the court ordered injunction, Ma is pursuing compensatory and punitive damages for Appleâ€™s alleged invasion of iPhone usersâ€™ privacy.
 Michael Kan, Apple face privacy suit following Chinese TV report, PCWorld (July 25, 2014, 12:00 AM), http://www.pcworld.com/article/2458320/apple-faces-privacy-suit-following-chinese-tv-report.html.
 Juan Rodriquez, Apple Illegally Tracks Customer Location, Class Action Says, Law 360 (July 24, 2014, 1:59 PM), http://www.law360.com/articles/560697/apple-illegally-tracks-customer-location-class-action-says.
 Rodriquez, supra note 4.
 Brid-Aine Parnell, Apple dodges data privacy sueball: Fanbois didnâ€™t RTFM, says judge, The Register (Nov. 28, 2013), http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/28/apple_data_privacy_lawsuit_thrown_out/.
 Parnell, supra note 10.
 Rebekah Kearn, Class Claims Apple iPhones Invade Privacy and Pass Along the Info, Courthouse News Service (July 28, 2014), http://www.courthousenews.com/2014/07/28/69879.htm.