Boston, MA: Tech giant Apple Inc, has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging the company illegally collected and sold its customers' personal information. Filed in Boston by plaintiffs Adam Christensen, Jeffrey Scolnick, and William Farrell, the lawsuit alleges Apple compelled its customers to provide their zip codes when making credit card transactions at Apple stores.
This type of data collection is prohibited by state law which makes it unnecessary for customers to submit any personal identification information (PIN) that' not directly necessary to the transaction. Apple collected the zip codes of their customers in violation of this statute, the plaintiffs argue, then sold that data to third-party companies for marketing purposes.
According to the lawsuit, plaintiffs Adam Christensen, Jeffrey Scolnick, and William Farrell shopped for and purchased items from Apple retail stores in Massachusetts between 2012 and 2013. "To consummate each purchase, plaintiffs elected to use their credit card as their chosen form of payment,"the lawsuit states. "As a condition of using their credit cards, plaintiffs were required by Apple to enter personal identification information associated with the credit card, including their full and complete zip codes. Apple would not allow plaintiff to complete their purchases without supplying such information."
"Apple is not required by credit card issuers to require this information from consumers,"the lawsuit claims, which suggests that Apple is in violation of state law.
The lawsuit notes that Apple acknowledges openly on their website that they reserve the right to "make certain personal information available to strategic partners that work with Apple to provide products and services, or that help Apple market to customers." "First, Plaintiffs and the Class have been injured because they have received unwanted marketing materials from Apple as a result of having provided their zip codes when using credit cards at Apple. Second, Plaintiffs and the Class have been injured by Apple's sale of Plaintiffs' and the Class' PII to third-parties, which was collected by Apple in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws chapter. 93 § 105(c).And third, Plaintiffs and the Class have been injured because Apple misappropriated their economically valuable PII without consideration,"the lawsuit states.
If the court agrees, Apple would be deemed responsible for committing what the state of Massachusetts considers an "unfair and deceptive trade practice."The plaintiffs are reportedly asking Apple to pay $75 per violation, as well as interest on those damages, litigation expenses, attorneys' fees, and "such other and further relief as may be just and proper."Apple would also be required to stop collecting PII across the state.