Failure to produce Steve Jobs’ emails a ‘mistake,’ Apple lawyer tells judge during location data lawsuit

“Apple Inc.’s failure to produce e- mails from Steve Jobs and other senior executives in violation of a court order in a privacy lawsuit was a ‘mistake,’ a lawyer for the company told a judge,” Joel Rosenblatt reports for Bloomberg.

“Attorney Ashlie Beringer made the admission in a hearing today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal in San Jose, California, in a lawsuit alleging the company collected data on the geographical locations of customers through applications on mobile devices including iPhones and iPads even after they said they didn’t want to share the information,” Rosenblatt reports. “Beringer said she and her team of lawyers reviewed more than 8,000 e-mails over the weekend and determined that it should turn over messages involving Apple’s late co-founder Jobs, marketing chief Phil Schiller and former mobile software head Scott Forstall, among others. ‘If you’re not a hide-the-ball kind of person and your client isn’t a hide-the-ball company, why are we sitting here in March talking about compliance’ with a November court order? Grewal asked Beringer.”

Rosenblatt reports, “The judge cut Beringer off when she began explaining that lawyers initially made a ‘reasonable and diligent’ effort to comply with his order governing the exchange of information.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Judge rules Apple must face lawsuit over iPhone location data collection claims – May 4, 2012
Apple sued again over location data; lawsuit claims Apple intentionally intercepted personal info – May 11, 2011
Apple open to lawsuit over location data collection – May 11, 2011
Apple releases iOS 4.3.3, changes crowd-sourced location database cache – May 4, 2011
Apple, Google set to testify at U.S. Congressional hearing on location data to begin May 10th – May 2, 2011
The full interview: Steve Jobs on iPhones and location data – April 27, 2011
Apple releases Q&A on Location Data: ‘Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone’ – April 27, 2011
U.S. Senate Democrat Franken to hold mobile privacy hearing; Apple, Google summoned – April 26, 2011
Illinois Attorney General Madigan requests meeting with Apple, Google – April 25, 2011
Apple sued for privacy invasion, computer fraud over iOS location data collection, storage – April 25, 2011
Steve Jobs on iOS location tracking: We don’t track anyone, but Droid does – April 25, 2011
Apple iPhone collects location info even when location services are turned off by user – April 25, 2011
Android phones regularly transmit location data to Google ‘at least several times an hour’ – April 22, 2011
House Democrat questions legality of Apple’s iPhone, iPad location tracking – April 21, 2011
Apple’s iOS location tracking file caused by a bit of unfinished code? – April 21, 2011
U.S. Senator Al Franken demands answers from Apple’s Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking – April 21, 2011
Expert: iPhone tracking story is nothing new and Apple is not collecting the data – April 21, 2011
‘untrackerd’ jailbreak utility blocks iOS from storing recorded iPhone location data – April 21, 2011
Apple’s iPhone tracks everywhere you go; stores the info in secret file on the device – April 20, 2011


  1. Lawyers. They’re all the same no matter who they work for. Lie, lie, lie until you’re caught then lie some more. They’re not paid to tell the truth. This sounds like something that Google would do. Tracking after you say you’re not? Then try to hide it by not producing emails? That sucks. No matter who it is doing it. Even Apple. Especially Apple. And the judge isn’t happy.

    1. I’m not connected with that case but I have no doubt that your assessment is wrong. Lawyers and their staff review millions of pages of documents in cases like these, and calls have to be made as to what documents fit into what categories, which of them are privileged on any one of numerous issues, which of them are confidential, which are not relevant, which have already been produced, etc. etc. The sources have to be tracked, each document logged, numbered and organized into which document is responsive to which specific request. Produce the wrong documents and your case can be completely blown. It can be a massive task, and occasionally some documents are missed. In this case it sounds like an initial decision to not produce a category of documents was revisited and a different conclusion reached. For sure a mistake, but one that is very common in these e-Discovery cases.
      And, for the record, collecting anonymous data is not the same as tracking.

  2. Sadly what Weekend said is true. I once talked to a lawyer I knew and asked him why the issue of justice in the court seemed so out of place when lawyers and judges did their thing.

    He said,,, “You don’t understand. Its not about right and wrong, its about who has the best case and who can present it the best” . So after some more discussion, I came to understand that no longer is a court about justice in the USA, its about who has the best lying, cheating, stealing lawyer under their pay.

    Sadly. JAT


    1. The system is built on advocacy using facts. A lawyer is obligated to his or her client to put those facts in the best possible light, using the best possible interpretation. That does not preclude honesty. It is assumed that lawyers will adhere to the code of professional ethics in arguing a case and that in doing so, both sides will present the best case they can. It is then up to a judge or jury to decide who has presented the best case and satisfied the requirements. All of this can be done without lying. But lawyers are expected to push the envelope in their clients’ interests. It’s a fine line, similar to an offensive lineman’s role in pass blocking. Holding is illegal, but his responsibility is to protect his quarterback. A certain amount of borderline activity is necessary.

  3. There is a difference between tracking location for crowd sourced data, and fixing that data to the user who supplied it.

    I don’t care if someone can see the location I took a photo, or where a restaurant I like is. I would mind if my name and personal data were linked to that location. I don’t want any emails or death threats just because I like to photograph tree roots or eat heart burn chile dogs of death.

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