Surrey woman sues Apple

Alleges software running iPhones and iPads breaches personal privacy.

A Surrey woman is taking a bite at Apple Inc. for allegedly violating her privacy and security rights through the operating system on her mobile phone.

Amanda Ladas has filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court that includes affidavits from a network expert, a psychologist, and a criminal geographic profiler.

The core of the claim against Apple surrounds the iOS4 operating system installed on many iPods, iPads and iPhones.

Ladas alleges in her statement of claim that Apple Inc. breached its duty of care to her by designing the operating system by using a hidden file to store locational data – including time, date and place – without her knowledge.

She also alleges by doing so, it constitutes a “willful violation” of her privacy, contrary to section 1 of the Privacy Act.

The claim also alleges Apple Inc. had access to her personal data, as did anyone else synchronizing with her computer.

“The plaintiff (Ladas) did not know of, or in the alternative, did not provide her informed consent to the covert tracking of her iPod Touch and iPhone by the defendant (Apple Inc.), nor was she afforded the option to ‘opt out’ of the tracking features if iOS4,” the statement of claim states. “The plaintiff has an absolute right of privacy and security of person by the common and statute laws of British Columbia and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which rights have been egregiously violated by the defendant and its ongoing covert recording and transcription to other computers of the plaintiff’s unencrypted locational data…”

The claim states that the transfer of personal data by synchronization with a computer in unencrypted form “is a particularly offensive and dangerous violation of the plaintiff’s privacy and security rights” as anyone obtaining it would have unfettered access to it.

The claim, which is set out to form a class action by anyone owning an Apple device with iOS4, indicates “all members of the class have suffered damages.”

In Ladas’ case, it claims she has suffered loss, damage and expense.

“(She) has suffered sleepless nights, fear, anxiety, discomfort and emotional stress since discovering , on or about April 22, 2011, that her movements have been tracked, time-stamped and recorded and transmitted to other computers in unencrypted form, all without her knowledge” or consent, the claim states.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The claim is asking the court to allow the suit as a class action to pursue general and specific damages and an interim injunction forcing Apple Inc. to stop tracking her movements.

Laura Ballance, spokesperson for Ladas, said her client feels her privacy has been breached.

“Ladas is concerned that, without her permission, anyone with moderate computer knowledge can find out where she’s been,” said Ballance, who sent out a media release Tuesday. “She considers the comings and goings of herself and her family to be personal and sensitive information.”

Ladas has retained Vancouver’s Ganapathi and Company as legal counsel.

Apple Inc. has not yet responded to the claim.

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