US technology giant Apple said yesterday it had made its first compensation payment in South Korea over a feature in its smartphone which can track the location of users.
Apple Korea said it had paid 1 million won (US$950) to iPhone user Kim Hyung-suk, complying with a compensation order from a court in the southern city of Changwon.
Kim, a 36-year-old lawyer, filed suit against Apple on April 26. He said the smartphone’s location recording infringed on his constitutional rights to privacy and freedom and caused psychological stress.
He demanded 1 million won, and the court ordered Apple to pay the sum for violating his privacy. Apple Korea said it had not raised an objection to the order.
The settlement was expected to trigger an array of similar lawsuits since South Korea has about 3 million iPhone users.
In April 29, other iPhone users in South Korea filed a joint suit against Apple, following claims that the US company traced and stored geographical data from its mobile device users in countries such as France and Germany.
British security researchers have said the position-logging feature was contained in iOS 4, the operating system for the iPhone and the iPad.
They said iOS 4-equipped iPhones and iPads store latitude and longitude coordinates along with a time stamp, probably through cell-tower triangulation.
The company in May released updated software for iPhones to fix “bugs” that resulted in location data being unencrypted and stored for up to a year.
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