Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

Lawsuit: Apple puts customers at risk for ID theft

Apple Computer, known as much for secretive ways as it is for developing widely popular consumer electronics such as the iPod and iPhone, has been sued for disclosing too much of its customers personal information.

The class action lawsuit, filed on behalf of Angely Maria and Todd Narson in U.S. Southern District Court in Miami, charges Apple with violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that put its customers at risk for identity theft.

According to the lawsuit, Apple printed credit card expiration dates on Apple Store online receipts, violating a 2003 amendment to the FCRA. That amendment states that "no person that accepts credit cards or debit cards for the transaction of business shall print more than the last five digits of the card number or the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the card holder at the point of sale or transaction."

Copies of Apple’s electronic receipts included as exhibits in the complaint also show the purchaser's name, home address, phone number and email address.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that the inclusion of this information increases the risk of identity theft. At this point, there's no indication that identity theft has occurred as a result of Apple's practices.

At the heart of issue is the risk of identity theft and Apple's failure to comply with the law, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs. Congress gave merchants a three-year period to comply with the FCRA regulations, and Apple has yet to meet those regulations, the suit alleges.

The lawsuit asks for damages of "not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each violation by Defendant (sic) together with costs of suit and reasonable attorney’s fees."

This was the second time in a week that Apple had been pulled into court. On Monday, the company was sued in Texas for allegedly infringing upon a Michigan-based inventor's power adapter patents.

In July, Matthew S. Sarelson, one of several attorneys suing Apple in the ID theft class action suit, also filed a series of lawsuits alleging violations of the FCRA against Burger King, Cobb Theaters, Intuit and TGI Fridays.

Apple does not comment on pending lawsuits.

Click here to email West Coast Bureau Chief Jim Carr.

Click here for the latest SC Magazine Podcast – Aug. 6, 2007: Interview with Jeff Moss, Black Hat founder and director.


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