Apple pays $945 penalty in South Korea iPhone tracking suit


A South Korean District Court judge last month ruled that Apple’s Korea unit must pay a man 1 million won—about US$945—in a suit over the Apple iPhone tracking user’s movements. According to reports, the suit against Apple Korea was filed in late April, just as the controversy over the iPhone’s clandestine location tracking feature was reaching its peak. The plaintiff alleged the functionality violated his privacy. Apple apparently paid the penalty on June 27.

Reuters first reported the story.

Back in April, researchers revealed that Apple iPhones were keeping length records of the device’s location, which in many cases could be used to present a highly detailed accounting of an individual’s movements over time. Apple responded that the data collection was about mapping out Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers as part of its assisted GPS features, not tracking users’ locations. However, Apple admitted iPhones were retaining too much data and that users weren’t able to turn off the function; both issues were addressed in iOS 4.3.3.

Accusations against Apple also revealed that Google’s Android operating system also tracks users location. Google says the location tracking improves the Android mobile experience, and they provide notice to users about the tracking features.

Apple is facing similar legal action in the United States. European regulators also opened an investigation into mobile user location tracking.

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