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Korean High Court Dismisses Case against Apple for Collecting Location Information on Koreans


Late yesterday it was reported that an appeals court ruled against South Korean iPhone users who filed a damages suit against Apple for collecting their location information without their consent. The Busan High Court, upholding a lower court's ruling, dismissed the complaint filed against the U.S.-based tech firm and its local unit, Apple Korea, seeking US$262,821 (299 plaintiffs at US$879 each in compensation) saying there was no leakage of private data.


While acknowledging the illegality of Apple's collection of data, the court said the company does not seem to have had an intention to abuse the information, citing its quick modification of the system when the issue arose. The court added it is hard to say that the company has inflicted emotional distress or other damages on the users.


In 2011, about 28,000 people filed the suit a few weeks after South Korea's telecom regulator, the Korea Communication Commission (KCC), ordered Apple to pay a fine for violating the country's location information laws.


The KCC said Apple accumulated iPhone users' location data even when users disabled the iPhone's location sensors, infringing on regulations that mandate companies to seek consent from users when they track their whereabouts.


A district court, however, dismissed the complaint. Only 299 out of some 28,000 people participated in the appeal. A lawyer representing the plaintiffs said Thursday they would appeal to the Supreme Court.


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