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Apple: OK, we tracked your every move... but let's call it a caching bug, m'kay?

It's a T&C question, not privacy invasion - Apple tells court

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Apple's lawyers have asked a Californian judge to dismiss a case against the company on the basis that no harm was caused by Apple storing detailed maps of users' movements.

Apple has already redefined the case as a question of information storage rather than a privacy invasion.

The iPhone users who sued Apple can't prove that the company gave detailed user location tracking information to third parties such as apps, say Apple's attorneys. Apple is refusing to hand over certain documents which might prove this one way or the other, because that would amount to an attempt to discover harm rather than an actual investigation of harm caused.

In the latest installment of the case*, heard by Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California, Apple's lawyer Ashlie Beringer filed a Declaration on 28 February saying that the plantiffs' requests for information were too broad.

Apple also wants the terms of the case reclassified as covering a "Caching Query Bug" instead of a "Location Services Issue". This reflects Apple's assertion that storing of user location was accidental.

Apple's lawyers successfully got six out of eight charges against it kicked out last June but Cupertino still faces two charges: for violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and for violations of the Unfair Competition Law. The first relates to Apple's alleged failure in its promise to protect user data and the second to allegations that the vendor missold the device by including a Location Services "off" switch that didn't work.

The discovery of how iPhones stored detailed maps of their users' movements over months and years caused a media brouhaha in 2011. It was also discovered that this information was collected even if "location" was switched off on the phone. In 2011 Apple stated that the detailed location collection was accidental and tweaked its software to narrow the nature of the information collected and the time it was stored.

Apple claimed the geodata collection was an accident - due to a caching bug - but its explanations at the time were blasted for being vague and confusing. ®

* Apple Inc. iPhone/iPad Application Consumer Privacy Litigation, 11-md-02250, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose)

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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