Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Apple is Selling their Customer’s iTunes Listening Data

So much for privacy

iTunes selling data
Pedestrians pass in front of a billboard advertising Apple Inc. iPhone security during the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. Apple made its presence felt at CES 2019 with a massive billboard highlighting the iPhone's privacy features. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Apple is a company that has marketed itself, especially of late, about how they value privacy of their consumers. This is why this piece of news is a contradiction to this marketing push by the Apple.

Three iTunes from Rhode Island and Michigan filed a lawsuit against Apple where they alleged that the company unlawfully collects and sells their iTunes listening information to third parties without providing prior notice or obtaining consent from anyone.

“Thus while Apple profits handsomely from its unauthorized sale, rental, transmission, and/or disclosure of its customers’ Personal Listening Information, it does so at the expense of its customers’ privacy and statutory rights because Apple does not notify let alone obtain the requisite written consent from its customers prior to disclosing their Personal Listening Information,” the lawsuit further argues.

The lawsuit gives an example of how this is a bad situation. “For example any person or entity could rent a list with the names and addresses of all unmarried, college educated women over the age of 70 with a household income of over $80,000 who purchased country music from Apple via its iTunes Store mobile application. Such a list is available for sale for approximately $136 per thousand customers listed.”

The plaintiffs are seeking $250 for each Rhode Island iTunes customer whose information was disclosed and $5,000 for each one in Michigan.

This does not look good for Apple since they have been running billboard ads which say “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone”. We’ll have to wait and see how this lawsuit will pan out.