26,691 iPhone users file suit against Apple
By Lee Hyo-sik
Nearly 27,000 iPhone users here have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over the phone’s indiscriminate collecting of users’ location information, demanding the California-based firm pay them 1 million won ($930) each in compensation for violating their privacy, a law firm said Wednesday.
Miraelaw, based in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, said that it lodged the suit with the Changwon District Court against both Apple Korea and Apple headquarters in California through the Supreme Court’s electronic litigation portal (ecfs.scourt.go.kr) on their behalf.
It said 921 more iPhone users will soon join the lawsuit as soon as their paperwork is completed.
A total of 26,691 iPhone users registered with the law firm to join a suit against Apple, paying 16,900 won each in litigation fees for which they will receive 1 million won each if they win the case.
Applications were received through the website (www.sueapple.co.kr) from July 15 to 31. The amount to be claimed in court will be more than 27 billion won.
Given the fact that over 3 million iPhones have been sold here, less than 1 percent of its users are participating in the suit.
“It is clearly illegal for Apple to indiscriminately collect location data on iPhone users without consent. To protect consumers’ rights, we filed a class-action lawsuit against information technology giant Apple,” Miraelaw lawyer Lee Jae-choul said.
Lee said his law firm is currently recruiting iPhone users willing to join the second round of the class-action suit through Aug. 31.
The unprecedented move came after Changwon District Court ruled in early July that Apple pay 1 million won for privacy infringement caused by the location-tracking function to Kim Hyeong-seok, a lawyer with Miraelaw.This was the first local case where a smartphone user was awarded compensation for Apple’s location data collection.
“It will take a significant amount of time before holding the first court hearing on the case given the time needed for us to send the necessary documents to Apple headquarters in the U.S. and for Apple to review them,” Park Jin-soo, a public relations judge at the Changwon District Court, told reporters.
The hype surrounding the class action against the world’s largest tech firm has attracted a great deal of attention from iPhone users here and abroad.
The number of iPhone users joining the suit turned out to be far fewer than the firm initially expected as the odds of winning a legal battle against the world’s largest IT company have increasingly become slim. The law firm had expected at least 100,000 users to join the suit.