Judge rules Apple must face allegations that Siri violates privacy

Judge rules Apple must face allegations that Siri violates privacy
© Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday allowed a lawsuit to move forward against Apple centered on allegations that the Siri voice assistant violates user privacy.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled that the plaintiffs had done enough to allege that their privacy was violated when Siri was accidentally activated and recorded conversations.

However, he ruled that the lawsuit did not prove iPhone users suffered any economic harm from those unintentional recordings, a crucial component of proving that Apple deceptively marketed the voice assistant under California’s Unfair Competition Law.

ADVERTISEMENT

The plaintiffs may still pursue claims under the federal Wiretap Act and California privacy law.

The case had previously been dismissed by White, who said the plaintiffs had failed to show that their own discussions and communications were being taken by Siri.

“In the revised version of the complaint, Plaintiffs seek to remedy these defects by adding factual allegations regarding their use of Siri-enabled devices,” White wrote in his decision Thursday, pointing to examples brought up by the plaintiffs of getting targeted ads based on conversations they believed to be private.

“On balance, the Court finds that these allegations plausibly show that Plaintiffs’ private communications were intercepted,” he explained.

The plaintiffs now have 20 days to either refile a complaint or notify the court that they will not do so.

A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on White’s decision, but pointed The Hill to the company’s motion to dismiss, which argues that sufficient privacy protections have been put in place.

Updated at 4:30 p.m.