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Judge slams Apple in privacy suit, says he can no longer take what company says at face value

Published Mar 8th, 2013 10:55AM EST

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Apple’s (AAPL) famous secrecy may have just gotten it into some legal trouble. Bloomberg reports that San Jose-based U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal has issued a scathing ruling in a privacy suit involving the company in which he questions Apple’s integrity and says that he will no longer take what the company says and face value. At issue is Apple’s alleged refusal to comply with Grewal’s three-month-old order that the company turn over some sensitive documents that Bloomberg says could “reveal inner workings that the company normally goes to great lengths to hide.”

The plaintiffs in the privacy suit are accusing Apple of collecting customers’ location data on their iPhones even when they have their geo-location services switched off and of giving third parties access to customers’ location data without their consent. Apple has tried to withhold revealing some documents requested in the case by arguing that their release could jeopardize customer privacy. Grewal, however, still ordered Apple to produce the documents and became upset when the company allegedly took over three months to verify whether it had complied with his order.

“Luckily for the plaintiffs, Apple has provided more than enough evidence itself to suggest to the court that it has not fully complied with the court’s order,” Grewal wrote this week. “In light of Apple’s performance in this case, the court cannot rely on its representations that this time it really has or will produce all responsive documents.”

According to Bloomberg, Grewal has also ordered Apple to “submit a detailed account by March 8th of how it collects and evaluates the documents it’s required to give the plaintiffs” and that based on its explanations he will decide if the company has made a “good faith and reasonable effort” to produce all relevant documents.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.