Northern California District Judge Lucy Koh has ruled that Apple will face a lawsuit over last year's location tracking scandal. The case will now move forward to pretrial fact-finding, although Bloomberg reports that some of the claims in the case have been dismissed. Koh has now lifted the stay of discovery and ordered Apple to start turning over documents to the plaintiff's lawyers by May 17. The judge threatened Apple with sanctions if she learns of any obstruction or "game play" during the exchange of information.
Last year, iPhones were found to be collecting, storing, and in some cases syncing unencrypted data related a user's location, even when location services were switched off in the phone's settings. Apple refuted the claim that it was tracking the location of customers' phones, and instead defined the data as "a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away." To quote our own Nilay Patel, collecting this data along with user-specific timestamps "comes awfully close to tracking your location."
"it's been a long wait."
Apple's lawyers moved to dismiss the case after claiming that there was not a "single, concrete injury inflicted on any one of the plaintiffs here, much less one that is traceable [to Apple]," but was clearly at least partially unsuccessful in its attempts. Scott Kamer, a lawyer representing the customers told Bloomberg that "it's been a long wait and plaintiffs are pleased to be getting their opportunity to have their day in court."