Apple faces class action suit over iOS tracking

Two U.S. men have applied sue Apple over the use of underhanded tracking of users of its portable gadgets.

Last week, British researcher and former Apple employee Pete Warden revealed that iPhones and iPads running iOS 4 were creating a hidden file which tracked the movements of users and sending that information back to the Apple Mothership every twelve hours.

Deeper analysis of the methods used and anonymously-harvested data revealed that the location accuracy was likley to be of little use to anyone with a nefarious agenda, and that anyone who was being tracked had given Apple permission, albeit in a less than transparent manner.

Vikram Ajjampur of Florida and William Devito of New York filed their lawsuit last Friday in a Florida federal court, accusing Apple of fraud, deceptive business practices and several other violations of US federal and state laws, and have asked for the suit to be given class action.

"Plaintiffs and proposed Class members were harmed by Apple's accrual of personal location, movement and travel histories because their personal computers were used in ways they did not approve, and because they were personally tracked just as if by a tracking device for which a court-ordered warrant would ordinarily be required," the official court papers claim.

The pair have asked a federal judge to issue an injunction which would force Apple to disable the tracking feature in the next version of iOS and claim unspecified damages for anyone affected.

Apple will no doubt claim that its end user licences are quite explicit about how geolocation data is collected and used and its not their fault if people don't read the reams of legal mumbo-jumbo attached to every bit of hardware and software it produces.

Steve Jobs has personally insisted that Apple doesn't track anyone, pointing the finger at Google's Android operating system instead.