APPLE IS LOOKING down the barrel of a class-action lawsuit after it was alleged that the company is selling customer data gleaned from its iTunes and Apple Music services.
Three plaintiffs from Rhode Island and Michigan filed papers at California's District Court on Friday claiming that the company had "intentionally and unlawfully" shared data with third-parties without explicit permission, which could break local laws.
The complaint adds that as well as the legal issue, such sharing was "also dangerous because such disclosures allow for the targeting of particularly vulnerable members of society.".
The complaint goes on to allege that third parties in receipt of the information have themselves passed it on, without any permission from the original user. It even provides examples of marketing companies that have (and used) such info.
It suggests that adverts are being targeted at specific demographics. For example, high-earning women of child-bearing age that have listened to Barry White in the past month could be shown ads for high-quality nappies.
It adds that in addition to offering data to marketers, the same info is also available to developers working on integrations and extensions for the service, effectively handing them the data on a silver platter.
More worryingly still, the papers allege that Apple was aware that listening data was leaking after a blog post in early 2016 drew conclusions that Apple acknowledged but failed to fix for eight months.
But a quick trawl through the INQ archives shows concerns about privacy in iTunes goes back even further - for example, this story from 2006.
Apple, which is yet to comment on the developments, is facing a bill of $250 for each Rhode Island resident affected, and $5,000 for those in Michigan. As the class-action gains members, we're likely to see more states and more settlement proposals in the coming weeks. μ
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