Apple faces privacy suit following Chinese TV report

The lawsuit alleges that Apple has been disclosing iPhone user data to third-parties

An iPhone user has filed a lawsuit for invasion of privacy against Apple, about a week after a Chinese state broadcaster raised security concerns about the device's location-tracking functions.

The U.S. class action lawsuit, filed by a woman named Chen Ma, alleges that Apple has "intentionally intruded" into her privacy with the iPhone's location tracking service. Apple has also disclosed the data to third parties, including the U.S. government, according to the claims.

In making the allegations, the lawsuit cites a July 11 report from the state-run China Central Television, which warned that Apple's location-tracking functions could be a security threat.

The function in question was the "Frequent Locations" feature found on iOS 7. The service records the places the user has visited, along with the duration, and is meant to provide tips, including nearby shops of interest and estimated commute times.

The CCTV report, however, claimed that the feature could be used to effectively spy on users. The data could reveal information about China's economy, and state secrets, according to one security researcher interviewed in the report.

Shortly after CCTV's investigation, Apple released its own statement, assuring users that the company does not track users' locations. Nor does it have access to the Frequent Locations function on users' phones, or has worked with any government agency to create backdoors in its products, it added.

Apple on Friday declined to comment about the class action lawsuit. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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