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.
In Gad 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.