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S. Korean iPhone users sue Apple

Each participant in a lawsuit filed in South Korea against Apple Inc. is seeking $932 in damages. Each participant in a lawsuit filed in South Korea against Apple Inc. is seeking $932 in damages. (Lee Jin-Man/Associated Press)
Associated Press / August 18, 2011

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SEOUL - A group of some 27,000 South Koreans is suing Apple for $26 million for what they claim are privacy violations from the collection of iPhone user location information.

Each person in the suit is seeking $932 in damages, Kim Hyeong-seok, one of their attorneys, said yesterday. He said they are targeting Apple Inc. and its South Korean unit to “protect privacy’’ rights.

Apple spokesman Steve Park in Seoul declined to comment.

Apple has faced complaints since it said in April that its iPhones were storing locations of cellphone towers and Wi-Fi spots for up to a year. Such data can be used to map the device owner’s movements.

Apple also said a software bug caused iPhones to continue to send anonymous location data to the company’s servers even when location services on the device were turned off.

The company has said it will no longer store the data on phones for more than seven days, will encrypt the data, and will stop backing up the files to user computers. It also has fixed the bug with a software update.

South Korea’s communications regulator this month ordered Apple’s local operation to pay a fine.