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Apple dodges data privacy sueball: Fanbois didn't RTFM*, says judge

They never bothered to read the privacy policy... so they have no case

iPhone 4

A US judge has thrown out an Apple user lawsuit over data privacy, saying that the former fanbois and gurlz had failed to show any evidence that they knew about Apple's privacy policies before they bought their iPhones.

Four iDevice users claimed in 2011 that Apple had violated its privacy policy by allowing third-party app developers to have access to personal information and by transmitting local Wi-Fi and phone tower data when Location Services were turned off.

They claimed they had been "harmed" by this behaviour as they would never have paid so much for their iPhones if they'd known Apple was going to do that and said that their mobiles had lost storage space and battery life from the transmission of their data.

Two of the mobe-owners said they didn't realise that third-party apps could collect their personal information and alleged that Apple had designed the iOS environment to easily transmit their data to companies that collect and analyse it without consent, despite a privacy policy that claimed to protect users. The other two plaintiffs said that their phones were sending location information even when they'd turned that feature off. Before the 4.3.3 version of iOS, iPhones were still sending Wi-Fi hotspot and mobile tower data due to a "software bug", according to Apple.

Although Judge Lucy Koh acknowledged that there may have been harm done, she said the plaintiffs had failed to show that they'd read, seen or heard anything about the company's data policies before they bought their iPhones.

In order for the case to stand up under law, the complainants would have to show that Apple's misrepresentations in its policies had directly influenced their decision to buy a fruity mobe and none of them could.

"To survive a standing challenge at summary judgment, plaintiffs must be able to provide some evidence that they saw one or more of Apple’s alleged misrepresentations, that they actually relied on those misrepresentations, and that they were harmed thereby," she said in her ruling.

"In a case founded on the premise that Apple’s misrepresentations caused plaintiffs substantial harm, this evidentiary burden is far from unreasonable, yet plaintiffs have failed to meet it." ®

* Read The F*cking (privacy) Manual ...

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