South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

Summary: Apple's ongoing international legal quarrels around the world continue as South Korea has slapped the tech behemoth with a new fine.

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Earlier this year, controversy brewed over what became known as Locationgate, in which any device running iOS 4.0 or higher was tracking the user's every move and location.

The problem was corrected with iOS 4.3.3 in May, which effectively nixed the cache that was storing the location data entirely when Location Services is turned off.

Apple responded with a statement trying to clarify that it was using the data to maintain a "database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers," and that any user data was sent to "Apple in an anonymous and encrypted form."

Nevertheless, customers were outraged, and then federal governments around the world got involved. Both Apple and Google faced U.S. Senate subcommittees over questions on privacy on mobile devices.

However, things have gotten more serious as the South Korean government has handed Apple's local division a fine of three 3 million won ($2,855).

Reuters reports that this "marks the first time Apple has been punished by a regulator over the controversial location data collection which has sparked criticism in the United States and elsewhere."

And it doesn't stop with the government, either:

Some 27,800 South Korean iPhone and iPad users are planning to launch a class action suit against Apple over the matter, while two separate U.S. groups have sued Apple, alleging that certain software applications were passing personal user information to third-party advertisers without consent.

Although, when you think about where $2,855 might fit in with Apple's budget (which includes $76.156 billion in cash and marketable securities as of June), it seems like pocket change. However, thinking like that is always a bit of a slippery slope.

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15 comments
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  • I sure hope Apple has enough cash to cover the fine

    ;)
    William Farrell
    • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

      @William Farrell yeah sure they do... Not sure this is about the fine; however. Apple is really starting to turn into an enormous mega company... the same kind we have all learned to dislike Microsoft for.
      apetti
    • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

      @William Farrell
      I don't know, that is more than Steve Jobs annual salary.
      LoverockDavidson
    • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

      @William Farrell Doesn't see the real problem with the fine. Used as evidence in a class action suit, Apple paying the fine means Apple has admitted wrong doing. Judges in subsequent cases will have little choice but to find against Apple since it has already legally admitted guilt.
      anothercanuck
      • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

        @anothercanuck Paying a fine doesn't mean you've admitted wrongdoing or guilt. It means you are complying with a legal judgment against you.
        FrackAnon
  • Are they gonna pay them...

    ...in dollars or IPADS??
    rock06r
  • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

    Wow South Korea way to show Apple! I'm sure with that massive a fine they'll never do it again! What's ridiculous is the fact that the US hasn't investigated any of this crap, and thus S. Korea's tiny fine is still a lot more than what the US has done about this kind of abuse. Seriously, though, the state of corporate law enforcement in the US and abroad is impotent.
    snoop0x7b
    • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

      @snoop0x7b The issue for Apple is that this sets a precedent of guilt if they agree to pay the fine. This is actually a shrewd move on Korea's part. Get Apple to pay away a tiny fine then the class action suit uses that to extract a bigger toll. Although this is just in Korea it will have effects in other countries as well. I'll wager that Apple is going to fight this fine as if it were for $2,855,000.
      boomchuck1
      • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

        @boomchuck1 You make a very good point. It's still a very small fine, although maybe the size was to deter Apple from fighting?
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

        @boomchuck1 See above, paying a fine is not an admission of guilt in the S Korea legal system.
        FrackAnon
  • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

    An ant slapped me the other day -- I think. It's probably a similar sensation.
    sullivanjc
  • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

    I hope Apple fights it. Seriously it was not even all that accurate - for instance it could not track me going into a grocery store, a liquor store, work, or home... it got me about 100' or more from each one depending on which cell tower I was using at the time. AND it was FIXED very shortly after.

    This type of class lawsuit is simply a means to extract unearned money from a big company... and this particular one is simply laying down the precedent for a larger class action lawsuit that will have much more of a financial impact on Apple.

    I'd love to see how the defendants of this suit can claim how this tracking hurt them or violated their rights.
    athynz
    • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

      @athynz I do, too, but the reasons cited in other responses, not yours. If Apple weren't so arrogant as to think it could keep track of its customers without asking permissions, it wouldn't be having these problems. Since the company as the ethics, or lack thereof, long ascribed to Microsoft, money is the only way to teach it what's actually acceptable corporate conduct.
      Lazarus439Z
  • they should have shut Apple down for a day or two, plus the fine.

    it's very irritating when a company like Apple or Google decides they can do whatever they want with users and if the user doesn't like it, tuff.
    the user is locked into a contract that gives the conglomerate the authority to abuse.
    so what if someone complains.
    now that the Federal government is starting to tell us what we must purchase, there is room for even more abuse.
    grrr!
    :(
    .
    wessonjoe
    • RE: South Korea slaps Apple with $2,855 fine over location data

      @wessonjoe Got to ask, how were an iPhone or Android phone users abused by storing very rough location data?
      non-biased