Korean users of iPhone filed a collective suit Wednesday against Apple, the manufacturer accused of indiscriminatively accumulating information about users’ location. / AP-Yonhap
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.
애플 본사와 한국법인에 1인당 위자료 100만원씩 청구
아이폰 위치정보 수집으로 사생활이 침해당했다며 제조사인 애플사를 상대로 위자료를 청구하는 집단소송이 시작됐다.
경남 창원의 법무법인 미래로는 17일 오전 11시 애플 본사와 애플코리아를 상대로 원고 1명에 100만원씩의 위자료를 청구하는 내용의 소장을 대법원 전자소송 포털(ecfs.scourt.go.kr)을 통해 창원지법에 제출했다.
법무법인 미래로는 이번 소송에 참여한 2만7천612명 가운데 우선 2만6천691명을 원고로 해 소장을 냈다.
법정대리인의 동의서가 준비되지 않은 미성년 참여자 등 921명은 서류가 갖춰지는 대로 추가로 접수할 예정이다.
이 법무법인은 7월 15일부터 30일까지 소송인단을 인터넷으로 모집했다.
법무법인 측은 이번 소송은 지난 5월 전자소송이 도입된 이래 최대규모라고 밝혔다.
법무법인의 한 관계자는 "집단소송으로 한꺼번에 2만명 이상이 접수하면 법원 서버에 무리가 갈 우려가 있다"며 "1만명 이하로 나눠 3개 사건으로 접수했다"고 말했다.
미래로 측은 17일부터 8월31일까지 집단소송 참여인단을 추가 모집하기로 했다.
박진수 창원지법 공보판사는 "전자소송 전담재판부에 사건이 배당된다"며 "미국의 애플 본사에도 서류를 보내고 애플 측이 이를 검토하는 시간 등을 고려하면 재판이 열리기까지는 꽤 걸릴 것이다"고 예상했다. (연합)