Watergate. Antennagate. Locationgate. Basically, if you're trying to turn anything into a scandal, just tack on a "gate" to the end of any operative word.
The most recent "scandal" related to Apple, if you can even call it that, was locationgate. Locationgate, if you recall, involved the drama surrounding Apple's supposed collection of user location information on the iPhone and it's alleged tracking of user movements. As tends to be the case with Apple news, the story mushroomed out of control and before you knew it, pundits and politicians alike were writing that Apple was stalking its users and hoarding location data without user consent.
In reality, the location data compiled by Apple's iOS isn't traceable back to any particular device or user, but is rather used to help the iPhone determine it's location coordinates faster than if it relied upon GPS alone. It accomplishes this by using cell tower and wi-fi hotspot information in addition to GPS information.
Moreover, it's worth mentioning that Apple gives users ultimate control over how their location data is used and makes it very easy for them to opt out of location based services. iOS 4, however, did have a bug whereby the iPhone collected location data even after the preference was toggled off. An admittedly egregious mistake, but one that Apple promptly addressed via an iOS update once it became abreast of the situation.
Locatoingate sort of came and withered away a few weeks once Apple addressed the issue and clearly explained what information iOS was and was not tracking and why. But not everyone is letting Apple off the hook so easily. Reuters is reporting that Apple recently paid out a whopping $946 fine to a South Korean iPhone user as a result of the locationgate scandal.
In May, Apple Korea was ordered by the court to pay 1 million won ($946) in compensation to Kim Hyung-suk, a lawyer, two officials at Changwon District Court told Reuters on Thursday. They declined to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
Kim's law firm, Mirae Law, said Apple made payment last month. Steve Park, a spokesman for Apple Korea declined to comment.
With 10s of billions in the bank, I don't think anyone Kim has to worry about the check bouncing.
But there may be more legal landmines ahead as the law firm representing Kim explained that it's also preparing a class action lawsuit against Apple for its "unauthorized data collection."
I'm not sure how the legal system in Korea operates, but such an action here in the US would likely be dismissed quite quickly due to the fact that affected customers suffered no real damages and that Apple, again, corrected the problem rather quickly after it became known.
Admittedly, this isn't a shocking story, but there's a small kernel of humor envisioning Apple legal cutting out a check for a cool $946 when most of the legal cases its embroiled in involve damages that can range in the tens of millions of dollars, if not more.