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Apple Has Been Accused Of ‘Intercepting’ iPhone Texts In Violation Of The Federal Wiretap Act

Posted 11/03/2014 4:40 pm by

Apple continues to access, intercept, collect, and not deliver the text messages sent to the now non-iPhone user

Three American consumers have filed a federal lawsuit against Apple, alleging that faults in iMessage, the iPhone’s texting service, amount to wiretapping because iMessage “intercepts” and retains messages that should be delivered to Android users. (Download a PDF of the complaint here.)


The suit was triggered by customers who switched from iPhone to Android smartphones, and who discovered that they were then unable to receive texts from iPhone users after they made the switch.


Apple has denied the claims in both suits. The company declined comment when reached by Business Insider.


The new complaint is the second lawsuit seeking class-action status on behalf of all customers who found that it’s difficult to remove your phone number from Apple’s iMessage system, so texts from iPhone users end up stuck inside it instead of being delivered to your current Android phone.


The first complaint used a standard claim that Apple’s failure to deliver iPhone texts was a breach of contract that harmed consumers by preventing them from getting full use of their Android phones.

“Intercepted” messages are allegedly held indefinitely


This new lawsuit goes a step further, by claiming that iPhone texts are “illegally intercepted and interned by Apple” when sent to Android users. The “intercepted” messages are held indefinitely, the suit claims, and that allegedly counts as “unauthorized access” to a computer system and a violation of both the Stored Communications Act and the Federal Wiretap Act. As their names suggest, those laws make it illegal to conduct wiretaps or hack people’s computer information. The plaintiffs argue:


Apple continues to access, intercept, collect, and not deliver the text messages sent to the now non-iPhone user. The result is not some minor “inconvenience” (as Apple seeks to portray it), but the continued unlawful accessing, interception, and non-delivery of text messages …

The technical fault lies in iMessage, Apple’s default messaging app. When a text is sent via iMessage, it seeks out the iPhone number it’s being sent to via Apple’s iCloud system. If it cannot find an iPhone with that number — because the customer has switched the number to Android — then iMessage frequently fails to deliver the message.


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