Apple makes S. Korea payment over tracking

Apple may be a corporate mega giant who is creating a cult of personality, but even they aren’t immune to South Korean law.

According to AFP, Apple said today that it has made its first compensation payment in South Korea over one of the features on its iPhone that tracks the whereabouts of users.


Apple Korea said that it has paid one million won or $950 to Kim Hyung-Suk, obeying a payment order from a court in the city of Changwon.


The 36-year-old lawyer, Kim, filed the suit on April 26. That’s a pretty fast turnaround to receive a legally mandated payment.


Kim said that the smartphone’s location monitoring interfered with his constitutional rights to privacy and freedom. He also says it caused him psychological stress.  


His demands were that Apple should pay him one million won, and the court went along with it and ordered that the tech giant pay up for disrespecting his privacy. Apple Korea says that it had no objection to the court ordered payment. $950 is chump change to Apple.

They’ll get that back from the sale of one of their newest iPads to some drooling fan boy on release day.


It was expected that the settlement would lead to a collection of similar lawsuits seeing as how South Korea has around three million iPhone users.


Kim has promised to invite other iPhone users to join the lawsuit party against Apple.


“Amassing location data without iPhone users’ consent constitutes an apparent legal violation,” Kim told Yonhap news agency.


Around 300 unhappy Apple customers have signed up to join Kim’s Apple reparations campaign through a Web site that he launched Today, Yonhap said.


Other iPhone users in South Korea filed a joint suit against Apple on April 29, after claims that the U.S. based company traced and stored location data from its mobile users in countries like France and Germany.


British security experts have said that the position-logging feature was a part of in iOS 4, the operating system for the iPhone and iPad.


They said that iPhones and iPads running iOS 4 keep latitude and longitude coordinates along with a time stamp, possibly through cell-tower triangulation.


In May the company released restructured software for iPhones to fix “bugs” that led to location data being stored and unencrypted for up to a year.


That’s an interesting “bug” don’t you think?