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

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

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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