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Class action suit filed against Apple, Pandora, Backflip over iPhone data privacy

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
A new lawsuit has been filed against Apple and two third party app developers, Pandora Media and Paper Toss maker Backflip Studios, claiming damages for users over allegations that their unauthorized private data was used to deliver targeted ads.

The case, filed in New York on behalf of Jarret Ammer by Peter Cambs of the Parker Waichman Alonso law firm, appears to be similar to a case filed in San Jose, California, last December.

Like the previous suit, the new complaint appears to be patterned directly upon a Wall Street Journal article which highlighted mobile apps as using the same kind of anonymous user tracking "cookies" that conventional web ad networks use to improve the relevance of display ads.

The difference between the two cases involving smartphone apps and traditional web cookies is that smartphones have a Unique Device ID (UDID) that advertisers can reliably associate with a given user, and which may be linked with location data collected as the user carries the device.

The suit notes that "Apple certainly understands the significance of its UDID and users' privacy, as, internally Apple claims that it treats UDID information as 'personally identifiable information' because, if combined with other information, it can be used to personally identify a user."

However, the complaint also says Apple "does not provide users any way to delete or restrict access to their devices' UDIDs," and that while the company has set up policies to prohibit and remove any apps that "collect and send device data to a third party for processing or analysis," it continues to collect data allegedly collected from users without their consent.

The suit specifically notes that two apps described by the Wall Street Journal article are collecting data but not providing any "location based services" as outlined in the terms of service distributed with iPhone and iPad devices.

"None of these Defendants adequately disclose to Plaintiff and members of the proposed Class that they are transmitting such information to third-party advertising networks," the complaint states. "Plaintiff and members of the proposed class were harmed by Defendants' actions in that their personal, private information was obtained without their knowledge or consent."

The suit adds that Apple "aided and abetted" third party software developers by giving them "substantial assistance," opening the company up to liability for other defendant's torts. It also notes that because Apple is in a joint venture with third party developers, it is "thus legally responsible for the tortuous conduct alleged."

The complaint states that by "accessing and transmitting UDID and location data on the [smartphone] computer of Plaintiff and members of the proposed class, Defendants have accessed Plaintiffs' computer in excess of the authorization" of those users, alleging that the defendants have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and New York Computer Crime Law.

The suit says the transmission of users' device IDs and location data "caused harm aggregating at least $5,000 in value," and seeks "recovery for this loss, as well as injunctive relief, to prevent future harm."

The suit also alleges that Apple and its developers have violated general business law related to "unconscionable and deceptive conduct" as well as "trespass to personal property" and taking property "in the form of information that is private and personal."


post #2 of 22
Yawn... lame. More and more suits. The lawyers also have a life, does anyone recognize that?
post #3 of 22
Oh yeah it is WAY worse to have ads shoved in my face that actually pertain to something I might actually be interested in than some utterly random or entirely inappropriate ad.
post #4 of 22
This is funny, In my country you can get sued if you try to base your sue based on comments, post or even publications of newspapers since those could be not true or have partial issue on the matter and have no prove at all.
Then we have all this sues based on fear or a supposed danger that your privacy is at risk.
post #5 of 22
Wtf that's all I can say...
post #6 of 22
Pointless lawsuit indeed.

Why?

Because when targeted ads become annoying (as they inevitably will), no one will ever pay attention to any of them. It's a total waste of time, and the only people who don't know it yet are the people still pushing this technology. People will tune out and have to be tricked to see ads as Google did.
post #7 of 22
Another week, another lawsuit.
post #8 of 22
I forgot to mention:

Counter suit in 3...2...1...
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

Oh yeah it is WAY worse to have ads shoved in my face that actually pertain to something I might actually be interested in than some utterly random or entirely inappropriate ad.

"Tortuous" should be "tortious" as in a tort.
post #10 of 22
Whores.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A new lawsuit has been filed against Apple and two third party app developers, Pandora Media and Paper Toss maker Backflip Studios, claiming damages for users over allegations that their unauthorized private data was used to deliver targeted ads. ...

These people seem to seriously misunderstand the technology being used.

Is it just me or do most of these lawsuits seem to emerge from similar misunderstandings? The cell phone radiation lawsuits came from folks that didn't understand what "radiation" really is and does, and the lawsuits and complaints about the antenna seem to come from folks that don't understand the science behind that.

Even the complaints about Obamas birth certificate basically come from folks that don't understand how technology has replaced paper copies of documents. They keep asking to "see the real one" when in fact nothing exists except print-outs of the original data.

Ignorance multiplied by the speed of technology equals lawsuit?
post #12 of 22
The freedom of the American.... Ooooh!


-------

This, is just angry for angry sake. Doesn't know how things work or bothered to read.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

These people seem to seriously misunderstand the technology being used.

Is it just me or do most of these lawsuits seem to emerge from similar misunderstandings? The cell phone radiation lawsuits came from folks that didn't understand what "radiation" really is and does, and the lawsuits and complaints about the antenna seem to come from folks that don't understand the science behind that.

....

Radiation makes people crazy strong, particularly when delivered in high gamma-ray doses or through a radioactive spider. I Googled it.

Targeted advertising, on the other hand, makes plaintiffs and their lawyers crazy stupid. Then again, they possibly were already crazy stupid and just needed the advertising to free their super-powers.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

This has nothing whatsoever to do with technology. This is a question of privacy policy.

But the alleged breaches of privacy are entirely contingent on the technology in use and how it's being deployed.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

These people seem to seriously misunderstand the technology being used.

Is it just me or do most of these lawsuits seem to emerge from similar misunderstandings? The cell phone radiation lawsuits came from folks that didn't understand what "radiation" really is and does, and the lawsuits and complaints about the antenna seem to come from folks that don't understand the science behind that.

Even the complaints about Obamas birth certificate basically come from folks that don't understand how technology has replaced paper copies of documents. They keep asking to "see the real one" when in fact nothing exists except print-outs of the original data.

Ignorance multiplied by the speed of technology equals lawsuit?

Danger-- if you say "birthers" three times they appear.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

If these allegations are true, the suit is well-founded.

And I agree the user, not Apple, should have control over when UDIDs are sent, and when they are not.

If the apps are popping the 'This Application Wants To Access Your Location' when not doing any location related stuff beyond ads, I think they're violating current Apple policy, in which case I'm not sure how that makes Apple an accomplice, but hey, it's a lawsuit, not logic.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Danger-- if you say "birthers" three times they appear.

You can't prove that!
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

If the apps are popping the 'This Application Wants To Access Your Location' when not doing any location related stuff beyond ads, I think they're violating current Apple policy, in which case I'm not sure how that makes Apple an accomplice, but hey, it's a lawsuit, not logic.

As I recall, the rule is the question must pop up when an app wants to use your location. Period. How it uses that info is moot.

Also,Apple has apparently kicked out several apps that were found to be calling home with the device id, as that is a no no. But only within apple policy. There are no concrete laws in this area. in the end, because Apple is acting to remove the apps as soon as the issue is discovered, they may be deemed in the clear as a form of safe haven, not unlike ISPs being cleared if they act when copyright violations are reported to them

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

If these allegations are true, the suit is well-founded.

And I agree the user, not Apple, should have control over when UDIDs are sent, and when they are not.

Then they have to sue every Phone service supplier in the world. And the UDID is there by federal law to help locate certain device in case is needed (911/police)
when I used to work for t-mobile we used the SIM Card # and the UDID # to fix and provide service to the customer and of course to have location of the cellphone on the network.
But under the terms of use for reps and users that specific ID wasn't considered private like a social security # or address, etc.
They are assuming Apple use the UDID like a phone company and that is not necessary true. Apple have different ways to ID a phone like the serial number, itunes account that the device is linked to, and even the mac address.
They have to prove that Apple shares private info with third parties and that wont happen. Plain and simple.
I hear no one suing Sony cause the PS3 glitch yet.... and that incident left private and sensitive information in hands of people that has the means to harm economically and personally the users since it can be used to rip money from credit cards or get spending habits of a user and then rob them at home or work.

Then this DB file is not visible, is not accessible to no one unless you get inside the OS and thats a feat a common user will not pull without some advance knowledge making it unlikely to happen. All this privacy stuff is bull..

See Pandora's Privacy Policies:
http://www.pandora.com/privacy/

"If you access the Service from a mobile or other device, we may collect a unique device identifier assigned to that device or other transactional information for that device."

But they say they use it like this:

"We use the information that we collect and you provide about yourself to personalize your PANDORA® internet radio experience through ads and social networking features."


They may collect UDID according to their own privacy policies But do not states how they do it, if directly with their own means. This practice is long used by anyone that developed software since is their way to identify certain device/platform and recognize their software build so they can prompt the user for updates, etc.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBoy58 View Post

Whores.

A job for every attorney!
post #21 of 22
Sounds like these issues should be decided AFTER the details emerge, rather than before

If this case clarifies some important issues, that might not be all bad at all. If it turns out to make Apple tighten up some policies and reign in unscrupulous (or careless) developers, even better. Or if it turns out that no improvement is even needed, and the current situation already protects us adequately, at least we’ll know that instead of assuming.
post #22 of 22
Screw the lawyers who filed the suit. Only they will benefit. The rest of us stand to lose, for instance, the best FREE Internet music service on the planet. Shame on all of you for hurting innocent bystanders to line the pockets of your clients and yourself with the dreams lost by the users.
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