The Quebec Superior Court recently authorized a class action
against Apple Inc. that is notable for two reasons: first, it is
one of the first Quebec class actions based on alleged breaches of
privacy and second, it sets a very low bar for authorization.
Abilia c. Apple Inc. the court authorized a class action
alleging a deliberate breach of privacy by Apple. Petitioner claims
Apple knowingly allowed third parties to design apps that when
downloaded would provide valuable personal information without
first informing users of this fact and obtaining their consent.
This is one of the first class actions based on an infringement
of privacy rights outside the health sector. In authorizing the
action, the court noted that if the allegations proved to be
correct, they would entitle class members to punitive damages, even
in the absence of compensatory damages.
The court also set the bar for certification extremely low. In
doing so, it noted that the issue of which apps obtained informed
user consent prior to downloading personal information and which
invaded the privacy of users, are all issues that could be sorted
out on the merits. Similarly, the fact the class was defined to
include all who had downloaded such apps, including those who might
have consented, was also an issue for the merits.
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