Lawsuit over app privacy targets Apple and developers
Apple and several mobile developers are facing two separate lawsuits over the collection and unauthorized sharing of private user data with third-party advertising networks, according to iLounge. The first lawsuit, Freeman vs. Apple, was filed in a northern California federal court and targets applications such as Pandora, Dictionary.com, The Weather Channel, Toss It, Text4Plus, Talking Tom Cat and Pimple Popper Lite.
The second lawsuit, Lalo vs. Apple, was filed in federal court in San Jose, California and seeks class action stats for anyone who has downloaded an offending application between December 2008 and last week. Similar to the first lawsuit, the Lalo vs. Apple suit targets Pandora, Paper Toss, The Weather Channel and Dictionary.com. Apple is included in both suits as the App Store approval process makes the company an "aider and abetter" to the deceptive practices of these applications.
The lawsuits stem from a recent Wall Street Journal investigation that revealed several iOS and Android applications were transmitting age, gender, location and device identifier information to third-party advertising companies.
This information was mined by the recipients and used to serve up relevant in-app advertisements. Unfortunately, this exchange of information was done without the user's knowledge or consent. While most of the collected information is not personally identifying, the hidden nature of the exchange caused a stir among privacy advocates. It was only a matter of time before this moral outrage turned into a class-action lawsuit.
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