Consumers from Florida and California allege in a proposed class action lawsuit that Apple has lied to iCloud subscribers about on whose cloud their data would physically be stored.
Apple’s iCloud service, the case explains, affords subscribers the ability to store their data on remote servers, i.e. “in the cloud,” instead of on their devices. The 59-page district court complaint states that Apple has throughout the class period—from August 20, 2015 through the present— sold iCloud subscriptions for which the company represented to users that Apple itself would be providing the cloud storage. In truth, the lawsuit alleges, Apple “lacked the necessary infrastructure” to provide the cloud-storage service it represented. Unbeknownst to proposed class members, who the suit stresses “paid and entrusted Apple” to house their information, data purportedly stored on Apple’s cloud servers and at the company’s facilities was instead stored on cloud infrastructure “owned and operated by other entities,” such as Amazon, Microsoft or Google.
From the suit:
“Unable to provide the cloud storage space to all class members that Apple sold and was selling through iCloud, Apple breached its iCloud agreement with its subscribers and had these users’ data stored not by Apple on Apple facilities, but instead turned the users’ digital files to other entities, like Amazon and Microsoft for them to store on their facilities. All this was undisclosed to Plaintiffs and the putative class members, who believed all along that Apple was providing the cloud storage of their data, as Apple had represented in its iCloud agreement and as these users had bargained for all along.”
As the lawsuit tells it, data stored by consumers on the cloud can include all manner of sensitive information. It is material to consumers to know which entity will be taking custody of their data when selecting a cloud storage provider, the suit states. In its iCloud subscription contracts, Apple, the lawsuit says, “went to great lengths” to represent and assure subscribers that Apple was the provider of the cloud storage service for which they were paying, stating in plain language that:
“When iCloud is enabled,
your content will be automatically sent to and stored by Apple,so you can access that content or have content wirelessly pushed to your other iCloud-enabled devices or computers.”
By claiming itself as the provider of the iCloud service when it was in truth reselling storage on cloud facilities operated by other companies, Apple was able to obtain paid subscriptions at a premium price from individuals who wrongly believed they were buying a service provided solely by Apple, the lawsuit states. Further still, the case notes that at the time Apple was effectively reselling cloud storage space on other companies’ servers, rivals like Amazon and Microsoft were apparently selling cloud storage services at prices lower than Apple offered for iCloud.
“Class members, therefore, paid a premium for their belief and understanding that their data would be stored by Apple,” the complaint reads, adding that Apple “continues to falsely claim” that it is the provider of iCloud cloud storage.
Covered by the proposed class are all iCloud subscribers in the United States who paid for an Apple iCloud subscription at any time between August 20, 2015 and the present.