On Tuesday US District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose, California, ordered Apple Inc to provide a legal defence for itself against lawsuits that accuse the company of tracking user activity.
The ruling allows users of iPhones, iPads and iPods to pursue claims under two US protection laws that Apple illegally collected user data.
The lawsuits, filed by two computer programmers in April 2011, claim that Apple devices allowed analytic companies and advertisers to collect personal data from Apple when applications were downloaded.
Companies that have been dismissed from the lawsuit already include Google, Flurry, Medialets AdMarval and Admob, meaning that illegality falls directly with Apple Inc itself.
Scott Kamber, the lawyer defending the plaintiffs, claimed data such as identity, addresses, age, gender and functionalities could be siphoned without notification by companies that provide applications to Apple.
Apple has defended itself thus far by claiming that user agreements disallow the company any liability in the data collection process.
In 2011 Apple claimed that a bug was causing the leak of illegal information, which has since been fixed in a software update.
Judge Koh has claimed that although Apple must now defend itself against these accusations, it may be found to be “routine commercial behaviour”.
Apple Inc must now start handing over the relevant information and documentation to plaintiff lawyers by 17th May “without any obstruction”.
“It’s been a long wait and plaintiffs are pleased to be getting their opportunity to have their day in court,” said Kamber.
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