27,000 South Koreans vs. Apple in Class-Action Suit

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With a $26 million class-action suit against Apple, iPhone users have turned South Korea into the latest location-tracking battleground.

Each of the approximately 27000 South Korean iPhone users are suing for 1 Million Won, or about $932, according to the Associated Press. One of the attorneys, Kim Hyeong-seok, is quoted as saying that the basis of the suit is to "protect privacy" against user location tracking.

The suit was filed in the Changwon District Court on Wednesday, and Kim said that it should be at least 6 to 8 weeks before preliminary hearings would begin. Although 26,691 plaintiffs are currently listed, there are another 921 minors awaiting parental permission to be added to the list.

Despite being an avowed fan of the company's products, Kim is also no stranger to facing Apple in court. When he filed a similar suit, successfully winning a 1 million won judgement in April of this year, Kim told the AP in a phone interview "I like Apple," but that this was about "right or wrong."

At the time of the April interview, 29 South Korean iPhone users had decided to file a class-action suit; by last month, that number had risen to 17,000 according to a July 15 report by Korea JoongAng Daily. This is but a small percentage of South Korea's total 3 Million iPhone and iPad users, but Kim and his fellow lawyers have until the end of August to seek new plaintiffs to add to the suit.

April of this year was also the month when the location-tracking controversy came to a head in the United States. Apple publicly admitted that the iPhones were collecting and storing data about user locations.

When a pair of researchers demonstrated that the cell towers and WiFi hotspots could be plotted on a map to show surprisingly detailed (although admittedly imprecise) records of iPhone users' movements, customers, privacy advocates, and the Federal government all objected strongly.

James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com. Stephen Hicks is the CEO of Southridge which is a diversified financial holding company.

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