eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Trends: It’s 10 PM, Does Apple Know Where You Are?


Over 30 years ago, local TV stations across the country ran this ad, asking the question “It’s 10 PM, do you know where you children are?”

Today, they could ask the question of many iPhone and iPad users, “It’s 10 PM, does Apple know where you are?”

According to Bloomberg on Monday, “Apple Inc. (AAPL) was sued for alleged privacy invasion and computer fraud by two customers who claim the company is secretly recording and storing the location and movement of iPhone and iPad users, according to a federal complaint filed…in Tampa, Florida.”

Vikram Ajjampur, an iPhone user in Florida, and William Devito, a New York iPad customer, sued April 22 in federal court in Tampa, Florida, seeking a judge’s order barring the alleged data collection and requesting refunds for their phones.

The lawsuit references a report from two computer programmers who indicated that “those of us who own either an iPhone or iPad may have been subjected to privacy invasion since the introduction of iOS 4.0” (operating system).  The report claims that Apple’s iOS4 operating system is logging latitude-longitude coordinates along with the time a spot is visited, is collecting about a year’s worth of location data, and logs location data to a file called "consolidated.db", which is unencrypted and unprotected.

“We take issue specifically with the notion that Apple is now basically tracking people everywhere they go,” Aaron Mayer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said. “If you are a federal marshal, you have to have a warrant to do this kind of thing, and Apple is doing it without one.”

In addition to the Florida lawsuit, the Illinois Attorney General has asked to meet with Apple executives to discuss these reports and French, German, Italian and South Korean regulators are also investigating the alleged location collection feature as a result of the programmers’ report.

So far, Apple has not commented – officially.  However, MacRumors reports that Steve Jobs has responded to one emailer who requested “Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don't track me.”  To which Jobs allegedly responded, “Oh yes they do. We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false.  Sent from my iPhone.”

True or False?  We’ll hopefully see.  It seems that every week there is a new type of data that can be relevant to the eDiscovery process, doesn’t it?

So, what do you think?  Have you been involved in a case where GPS location data was relevant?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.