App Makers Settle Privacy Class Action for $5.3 Million

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge on Tuesday finalized a $5.3 million deal to settle claims that Twitter, Instagram and other app makers uploaded Apple device users’ personal data without consent.

Lead plaintiff Marc Opperman sued Apple and 17 app developers in March 2012 in one of five consolidated class actions. The plaintiffs claimed Apple allowed app makers to swipe their contacts data, including email addresses, from iPhones and other devices without permission.

Eight of the 17 app makers agreed to settle the lawsuit for $5.3 million in April last year.

The eight settling app developers include Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Foursquare, Foodspotting, Gowalla, Kik Interactive and Kong Technologies, which acquired the social media app Path in 2015.

In July 2016, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar certified a nationwide class of 480,000 Apple device users for claims against Apple and Path. But last year, Tigar denied class certification for claims of false advertising against Apple, finding little evidence that Apple extensively touted data security in its marketing and advertising.

The $5.3 million fund includes $1.59 million in class attorneys’ fees, $150,000 in litigation costs, and $80,000 in awards for 13 class representatives. Tigar reduced a request for $15,000 class representative awards to $7,500 and $5,000, finding the time named plaintiffs spent on the case was generally “not substantial.”

Out of more than 13 million potential class members, 81,853 filed legitimate claims for nearly 300,000 downloads, according to a motion for final settlement approval filed in on Nov. 30, 2017.

The deadline to file claims was Nov. 10, 2017.

In January, Tigar asked the U.S. Attorney to look into thousands of potentially fraudulent claims for settlement funds that were filed prior to the deadline.

The class members will receive payments as electronic credits for or as physical postcard checks, according to the motion for preliminary settlement approval filed last year.

Class attorney David Given, of Phillips Erwine Given & Carlin in San Francisco, did not immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.



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