Smartphone users sue Apple, Facebook over mobile app privacy
18 social media firms slapped with lawsuit
Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Apple, Foursquare and 13 other prominent social media firms have been hit with a lawsuit accusing them of supplying mobile applications that invade users' privacy.
The class-action lawsuit was filed by 13 private individuals in Austin, Texas – where geek tech fest SXSW has just shut up shop. The suit accuses 18 companies of harvesting the address books of millions of smartphone users without their knowledge or informed consent.
"The defendants - several of the world's largest and most influential technology and social networking companies – have unfortunately made, distributed and sold mobile software applications that, once installed on a wireless mobile device, surreptitiously harvest, upload and illegally steal the owner's address book data without the owner's knowledge or consent," the lawsuit alleges, PC World reports.
The people behind the lawsuit are seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting such data collection and the destruction of data previously gathered. Those behind the lawsuit describe themselves as users of Apple's iPhone as well as Android-based smartphones.
The lawsuit comes against the backdrop of growing concerns about the handling of sensitive information on mobile phones. At the beginning of February it was discovered that social media iPhone apps from Path and Hipster were uploading user address book information without seeking the consent of smartphone users. Path apologised and promised to mend its ways. Days later, Twitter came under fire for failing to explain that its "Find Friends" service accessed users' smartphone address books.
Democrat Senator Charles Schumer was prompted to write to consumer watchdogs at the FTC calling for action after the location-finding services on smartphones were also granted permission to siphon off users' photos on both iPhones and Android devices.
Smartphone security boffin Graham Lee recently told The Reg that the app development industry might not be able to retain existing business models – thus forcing up prices – should a crackdown take place on the practice of info-slurping in exchange for targeted ad bucks. ®
Even worse, I am not even a user of any of these social networks and yet they have all my details because some twat I'm real-life-friend with or someone from my family (at least I can choose my friends!) has given away my phone number, address, birth date, emails and god knows what in *his* address book.
How can this state of affair be allowed when even if these site's users were to agree to their T&Cs, they have no right to include unsuspecting third-party data without their knowledge and consent.
Re: Seems to be misconception
I didn't realize that giving my personal information to my grandad or my nephew was the same thing as placing it in the public domain. Yet, according to you, this is what happens when they then upload their address book to Twitbook and the likes and I should just live with it?
Re: Seems to be misconception
I refuse to sign up to Facebook, Google+, Twatter, et all for reasons personal to me, except I am not even given the choice as some mate decided to put my number in his address book and I am automatically included in Zuckerbergs weird little dimension for the very fact that my number is attached to one his brainwashed and braindead minions!
I signed no T&C and I made no request to sign up, so I don't want my details bandied around like so much wind blown confetti without my consent, OK?!