Privacy Lawsuit Filed Against App Makers, Including Twitter, Facebook, and Apple

Submitted by RowellaP on Mon, 03/19/2012 - 06:52.

Eleven plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit in Texas district court against 18 firms whose mobile phone apps "surreptitiously harvest, upload and illegally steal the owner's address book data without the owner's knowledge or consent," the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit also claims that the uploads “have, quite literally, turned the address book owners’ wireless mobile devices into mobile radio beacons broadcasting and publicly exposing the unsuspecting device owner’s address book data to the world,” PC Mag reports.

The lawsuit names Kik Interactive, Twitter, Facebook, Beluga, Yelp, Gowalla, Hipster, LinkedIn, Path, Apple, Rovio Mobile, ZeptoLab, Foodspotting, Chillingo, Hipster, Burbn, Foursquare Labs, Instagram, and Electronic Arts as defendants.

Last year, a California judge threw out an similar lawsuit against Apple on the grounds that the plaintiffs failed to prove the privacy issues caused the plaintiffs harm.The current lawsuit also does not allege that harm has come to app users, just that they are violating their privacy.

Congress issued a letter to Apple seeking information regarding apps that access a mobile phone users contact list. Apple responded in kind, however, Henry A Waxman, and Rep. G.J. Butterfield asked Apple to explain in person, on Capitol Hill.

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