Apple Sued Over iPhone Tracking File–But Will It Help?

Lawyer talking to jury

Any company getting attention over privacy issues these days can quickly expect the lawsuits to follow. Just two days after the iPhone’s tracking file got the attention of the national press, a class action lawsuit was filed in federal court. It will likely not be the last.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by a Florida solo practitioner, Aaron Mayer, who is likely happy to be fielding more press calls on this lawsuit than on any other he’s filed. The representative clients are one iPhone owner and one iPad owner who say the tracking that those devices perform violates a federal law, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as various state consumer protection laws.

With digital privacy now squarely in the national spotlight, any company that has negative privacy news can quickly expect to find itself attacked by a the growing “internet privacy” plaintiffs’ bar. Lawsuits like this complaint, Ajjampur v. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) (PDF available via Wired), aren’t particularly interesting to read because they don’t do much more than use news headlines and then recite alleged legal violations.

In fact, privacy lawsuits are proliferating so much that one has to wonder if they’re actually disruptive to real policy discussion of the issues. Mobile phone tracking is a serious issue that industry, privacy advocates, law enforcement, and elected representatives need to engage in public debate over. I’m not sure having a growing group of privacy lawyers at the table–whose primary interest is often pecuniary–is moving the discussion forward.

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