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Trio allege in court: You sold our ZIP codes, Apple, now hand over $5m!

Class-action suit claims touting personal info breaks Massachusetts state law

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Apple is being sued by a trio of customers who claim the company sells their personal information in violation of Massachusetts law.

The three men have filed a class-action suit in the state alleging that Apple collected their ZIP codes and then flogged that personal information to third parties.

In a complaint filed in the Massachusetts District Court, on behalf of all customers in the state, the trio said Apple asks for ZIP codes from people when they purchase stuff from Boston-area Apple stores.

They argue that by getting customers to enter their ZIP codes, which are not needed to process transactions, Apple collected personally identifiable information. The plaintiffs cite Apple's privacy policy ("At times Apple may make certain personal information available to strategic partners"), and allege the Cupertino giant violated Massachusetts laws by selling that personal information "for profit".

The complaint also invokes Massachusetts State Law Chapter 93 Section 105, which states: "No person, firm, partnership, corporation or other business entity that accepts a credit card for a business transaction shall write, cause to be written or require that a credit card holder write personal identification information, not required by the credit card issuer, on the credit card transaction form.

"Personal identification information shall include, but shall not be limited to, a credit card holder’s address or telephone number."

As a result, the trio seeks at least $5m in damages, not including court costs and interest, paid out to Apple customers in the state.

Earlier this week, Apple settled another set of customer complaints when it reached a deal with the FTC to offer refunds to parents. In that case, the company was accused of misleading its users in regards to its App Store and the ability for children to rack up charges with in-app purchases.

El Reg estimates that the $32.5m payout in that case will equal about 7.6 hours of annual profit for Cupertino. ®

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