U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White has given the green light to a lawsuit that claims Siri violates user privacy. However, he did dismiss part of the complaint under California’s Unfair Competition Law (apple-must-face-claim-that-siri-violates-privacy-judge-rules?srnd=technology-vp">via Bloomberg).

The case is Lopez v. Apple Inc., 19-cv-04577 [PDF], U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

Siri Versus Privacy

Judge White had originally dismissed the lawsuit in February, saying the plaintiffs didn’t give enough evidence to show their privacy was violated by Siri. But he did give them a chance to re-file the case and now says the claim is sufficient.

The plaintiff’s argument is that their privacy was violated by “accidental activations” from Siri. Under this circumstance the user doesn’t expect or intend for Siri to listen or record voice conversations. But Judge White ruled that the lawsuit didn’t prove economic harm, which is a necessary part of the claim under the UCL that Apple deceptively marketed Siri.

The suit also references reporting from The Guardian that said Apple hired contractors to review recordings from Siri to improve the service. This was done without the knowledge of users and the company has since give users control over “Siri Grading.”

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Andrew: Not having time to read through the filing, but just skimming the lowlights; this sounds suspiciously like the complaint from the guy whose wife caught him sending photos of his manliness to his mistress, and who subsequently blamed it on the iPhone’s camera system, snapping pics of his privates whilst in his pockets (and spontaneously sending them out via Messages, because…iPhone). Gives a whole new meaning to ‘pic-pocket’.   We have all had instances in which we have unintentionally activated Siri (happened to me just today in conversation). However, it’s curious that this fellow’s complaint suggests Siri self-activates only… Read more »