The dust has barely settled over the furor of Apple users finding out that Siri data was being shared with third parties, before there is yet more third-party controversy with Apple.
This time they’re facing a class-action lawsuit that was filed in California on Monday. It accuses Apple of false advertising, as they tell users iCloud data is “stored by Apple, but in some cases it’s actually saved on third-party servers being run by Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.
While the Siri data difficulty was smoothed over easily enough with the company immediately putting a stop to its practice of sharing the data, this time they’re facing legal action.
The class-action lawsuit was filed on Monday charging that Apple breached customer trust and legally binding contracts by using the trust users have in the company to sell iCloud subscriptions, allowing people to believe the information was stored on Apple servers.
The legal action claims Apple “lacked the necessary infrastructure” to operate iCloud on its own so wasn’t in complete control of the data during the contract period. The suit charges that the company misrepresented the service to potential and existing users.
“Touting itself as the provider of the iCloud service (when, in fact, Apple was merely reselling cloud storage space on cloud facilities or other entities) allowed Apple not only to obtain paid subscriptions of class members who subscribed to iCloud believing that their cloud storage was being provided by Apple but also allowed Apple to charge a premium for its iCloud service because subscribers placed a value on having the ‘Apple’ brand as the provider of the storage service for their most sensitive data,” reads the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs Andrea M. Williams of Florida and James Stewart of San Francisco, California, are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They claim they were not told iCloud would use non-Apple servers to store their data, and had they known, they would not have subscribed or paid the premium fee for the iCloud service.
Adding to this, the cloud storage services for Amazon Drive, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s OneDrive are sometimes less expensive, so users could have saved money to just use those services instead of Apple whom they believed was storing their data separately.
In fact, iCloud’s customer agreement reads, “When iCloud is enabled, your content will be automatically sent to and stored by Apple so you can later access that content or have content wirelessly pushed to your other iCloud-enabled devices or computers.”
It was known in the industry since at least 2011 that Apple was outsourcing their data storage to Amazon and Microsoft, and more than a year ago the company confirmed they were also outsourcing to Google.
Stored with Encryption
Apple claims the data is broken into chunks and encrypted before it’s stored on the third-party servers.
“The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information or the keys, using both Apple and third-party storage services – such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform – but these partners don’t have the keys to decrypt your data stored on their services,” Apple explains.
Do you think Apple was being disingenuous in their iCloud plans to not explain where the data was actually being stored even though they were encrypting it first? Add your thoughts on Apple’s practice of using third-party servers to store iCloud data in the comments below.