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Apple sued by iTunes customers over alleged data misuse

Apple is allegedly sharing iTunes customer info with third parties.

iTunes users allege their data is being on-sold by Apple to third parties.
Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A lawsuit filed by three iTunes customers claims Apple is sending personal user data to third parties to boost its revenues. 

It is alleged that Apple is selling, renting or disclosing full names, addresses, genres of music and specific titles of songs purchased on the iTunes Store app on iPhones without consent or notification.

According to documents filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, Apple does this "to supplement its revenues and enhance the formidability of its brand in the eyes of mobile application developers," the lawsuit alleges.

"None of the information pertaining to the music you purchase on your iPhone stays on your iPhone," the lawsuit further alleges. "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."

First reported by Bloomberg, the plaintiffs -- Leigh Wheaton from Rhode Island, and Jill Paul and Trevor Paul from Michigan -- allege third parties then use this data to append several more categories, including age, gender, income, educational background and marital status.

This "enhanced" data is then allegedly sold on to other third parties, the lawsuit says.

The plaintiffs are representing other iTunes customers in their respective states, seeking $250 for Rhode Island class-action members under the Video, Audio, And Publication Rentals Privacy Act and $5,000 for Michigan class-action members under the Preservation of Personal Privacy Act.

An initial case management conference is set for Aug. 27 at 9.30am PT, with the plaintiffs demanding a trial by jury.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.