Judge orders Apple to hand over documents, prove compliance in privacy lawsuits

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Apple's own assurances that it is complying with court orders to turn over evidence in a privacy lawsuit are insufficient according to the judge presiding over the case, who has ruled that the company must now turn over all documents related to the matter.

Example of a UDID found in the iTunes device summary tab.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal, responding to plaintiff complaints that Apple has withheld documents had been ordered by the court to produce, called Apple's efforts at proving its compliance "unacceptable." Apple waited more than three months after Grewal's November order to verify its compliance.

"Luckily for the plaintiffs," Grewal wrote, according to Bloomberg, "Apple has provided more than enough evidence itself to suggest to the court that it has not fully complied with the court's order. In light of Apple's performance in this case, the court cannot rely on its representations that this time it really has or will produce all responsive documents."

The plaintiffs in the suit allege that both Apple has collected and stored geolocation data on them and others through their iPhones, even when the device's geo-location functions were deactivated. They further hold that Apple allowed third parties to collect iPhone user data and monitor personal information without users' consent. Apple has been looking to block class action status for their suit, claiming that the plaintiffs are unable to demonstrate harm or to even prove their claims.

Apple so far has resisted releasing some documents, claiming that it and its customers might be harmed should the information be "inadvertently released to the public" or fall into "the wrong hands."

Grewal's order calls for Apple to submit a detailed account of its processes in collecting and evaluating the documents it is required to produce. That account must contain search terms used, dates of searches, individuals related to the searches, and the number of documents turned up. Grewal will then review Apple's submission and determine whether the company has made a "good faith and reasonable effort."


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