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Apple facing iCloud lawsuit for allowing Amazon and others to store data

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A class-action lawsuit filed this week aims at Apple for storing some iCloud data on third-party servers.

Apple claims that iCloud data will be “stored by Apple”, but redirects some to Amazon and other third-party servers. It is accused of breaching customer trust to sell more iCloud subscriptions.

Apple’s recent marketing campaigns leverage the company’s alleged respect for data privacy and security. Apple promises that iCloud data will be safe, advertising its “industry-standard security technologies” and the strict policies protecting the information.

An iCloud security overview document on Apple’s website states that iCloud is “leading the industry by adopting privacy-preserving technology like end-to-end encryption for your data.”

In the same document, Apple mentions the possibility of iCloud’s data being stored on third-party services in some cases, but it fails to be clear in its “Welcome to iCloud” legal agreement, where it suggests that only Apple will be taking care of the data.

“When iCloud is enabled, your content will be automatically sent to and stored by Apple,” the statement reads. There is no reference to the fact that some data could be stored by third parties.

The lawsuit, filed Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims this misrepresents iCloud’s services to Apple customers.

The complaint points at iCloud’s data handling policies and Apple’s lack of transparency, claiming the company makes promises to customers that cannot fulfill. It also notes that Apple’s customers pay a premium for the brand’s strict stance on data protection, but eventually end up with their data offloaded to other servers.

“Touting itself as the provider of the iCloud service (when, in fact, Apple was merely reselling cloud storage space on cloud facilities of 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,” the lawsuit reads.

Apple publicly confirmed that it relies on third-party storage services for its iCloud in early 2018, but reports of its data outsourcing can be traced back to 2011 when the company was rumored to be negotiating with Microsoft and Amazon the use of their servers.

Apple is currently also facing another privacy lawsuit for allowing humans to listen to private Siri recordings.

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