27,000 South Koreans sue Apple over iOS privacy

The people suing Apple over location tracking are seeking $25.3 million in total damages, which translates to about $936 per person.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

As expected, Apple has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in South Korea.

About 27,000 South Koreans filed their class-action suit against Apple today, charging the Cupertino, Calif.-based company with privacy violations in its iOS-based devices, the Associated Press is reporting. The plaintiffs are requesting about 27 billion won ($25.3 million) in damages, which translates to about $936 per person.

Earlier this month, the Korea Herald reported that law firm Miraelaw was planning to file a lawsuit on behalf of over 27,000 people against Apple. That report estimated that Apple would be asked to pay about $25.8 million in damages.

The trouble stems from Apple's inadvertent collection of location data in iOS-based devices. In April, researchers revealed that Apple was collecting location information, including longitude, latitude, and time stamps, of everywhere people had been with their mobile devices. That information was unencrypted and accessible on both the device they were using, as well as all computers synced with the products.

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Soon after, Apple acknowledged that its iPhone was collecting the information, calling the issue a "bug." The company addressed the problem in an iOS software update in early May.

Since then, Apple has faced legal challenges around the globe. In Florida, the company was slapped with a lawsuit over the tracking. No judgment has been made yet.

In South Korea, Apple has already been forced to pay up--although it's been a pittance up to now. In July, the company was ordered to pay 1 million won ($945) for allegedly tracking a man's location. Earlier this month, the Korean Communications Commission ordered the company to pay a $2,829 fine for the location tracking.

The company certainly doesn't need to worry about the money if it loses this latest case: at the end of its most recent quarter, Apple had $28.4 billion in cash and short-term investments on hand.

Before a judgment is made in this latest case, however, Apple may face even more plaintiffs, the AP says. The attorneys for the plaintiffs are allowing more people to join the lawsuit until the end of this month.