27,000 Koreans sue Apple over location tracking

You’d probably be a bit twitchy about privacy too if you lived right next door to North Korea – and 27,000 South Koreans have launched a class-action lawsuit against Apple over alleged location tracking.

Reports that the iPhone and 3G iPad were routinely tracking users first emerged in April, but were swiftly denied by Apple – although the company then released a new version of iOS that made it easier to wipe location data.

In May, though, the company was slapped with a three-million-won fine – nearly three million dollars – by the Korea Communications Commission for violating local laws against gathering information about a person’s location. It was told to delete the location tracking information it stored.

The company was also ordered by a South Korean court to pay lawyer Kim Hyung-souk a million won in compensation – and he’s now decided to share the joy by launching a class-action lawsuit for tens of thousands of his countrymen.

“Collection of users’ locations without their consent constitutes an apparent legal violation and we will carry out a class-action suit against Apple, a corporate behemoth, in order to salvage consumers’ rights,” Lee Jae-cheo, one of the lawyers handling the case, told Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily.

The plaintiffs are looking for a million won each. But the court says it could take quite some time before the case actually begins.