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Litigation claims that Apple violated the Privacy Act by disclosing iTunes listening data



Three iTunes users sue Apple for stating their advertiser listening habits. The users, who hail from Rhode Island and Michigan, claim that Apple violated laws protecting records of entertainment purchases in those countries. They seek class rate status along with other nationals and say that Apple has "ignored its legal responsibility for those individuals" by disclosing personal information.

Litigation claims that Apple has released personal listening information directly to third parties while providing app developers with access to iTunes libraries through the Media Player framework. It builds on specific public criticism of Apple's privacy practices, as well as the general availability of private user data through data brokers. It also speculates that Apple's data is responsible for the plaintiffs receiving unwanted junk mail based on their listening history.

As Variety says data brokers gather information from many sources – allowing iTunes user data to be achieved through financial records that are not directly related to Apple. Apple Media Player documentation currently tells developers that they need permission from users before accessing music libraries, and it states that they are not "allowed to use this framework to collect information about the user's audio content, or to use such information. For some purpose, other than audio playback in your app. "The lawsuit notes that Apple was criticized for automatic access for full access a few years ago, and the plaintiffs say Apple still does so to easily gather data through iTunes.

These claim contrast with Apple's vocal pro-privacy attitude. In the introduction, the print writes an ad earlier this year, where Apple claims that "what's happening on the iPhone stays on the iPhone" – something the plaintiffs say is "totally untrue." Online media services have been driven by the Privacy Act before. Netflix, for example, settled a complaint lawsuit claiming it had violated the video protection law. However, previous privacy claims against Apple have been rejected because users could not determine that they had been damaged.


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