Music Australia News

Apple Sued by iTunes Customers Claiming Their Listening Data Was Sold to Third Parties

Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Scarlett Di Maio
| May 29, 2019

A class action federal lawsuit has been filed by three iTunes customers against Apple. They allege that information on their iTunes purchases was sold by Apple to third parties in order to boost its revenues.

According to reports by Billboard, the plaintiffs are seeking an excess of $5 million in damages, according to the lawsuit that was filed last week in California’s Northern Federal District.

The lawsuit was filed by U.S based iTunes users Leigh Wheaton, Jill Paul and Trevor Paul, who claim that despite the fact that Apple engaged in an ad campaign “touting its supposedly pro-consumer positions on issues of data privacy”, they were also mining and selling person information to third parties.

The parties complain that the collection of the data was done in violation of their own individual states’ privacy laws.

The class action is seeking $250 for each customer from the state of Rhode Island who had their information disclosed, while $5,000 per each customer in Michigan is being sought, in accordance with the privacy laws in these states.

According to Apple’s Privacy Policy, the company only collects what they describe as “non-personal information” which may be used, transferred, and disclosed at their behest.

“None of the information pertaining to the music you purchase on your iPhone stays on your iPhone,” according to the 51-page lawsuit.

The class action also alleges that Apple supplements its revenues by selling, renting and transmitting with third parties information about the music that each customer purchases from the iTunes Store.

“The data Apple discloses includes the full names and home addresses of its customers, together with the genres and, in some cases, the specific titles of digitally-recorded music that its customers have purchased via the iTunes Store and then stored in their devices,” according to the lawsuit.

The class action further alleges that after Apple discloses its customers’ personal listening information, the recipients of this data then match it to other personal information on Apple’s customers and then resell that information on the open market.

An initial case management conference is set for Aug. 27 at 9.30am PT, with the plaintiffs demanding a trial by jury.

Apple is yet to publicly respond to the lawsuit. You can read Billboard’s full report here.

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