Lawsuit slams 'apps' for mining smartphone contacts

Mar 16, 2012
Numerous models of Nokia phones are pictured in 2010. A small group of US smartphone owners has filed a lawsuit demanding that Facebook, Twitter and other makers of smartphone "apps" pay dearly for mining people's contact lists.

A small group of US smartphone owners has filed a lawsuit demanding that Facebook, Twitter and other makers of smartphone "apps" pay dearly for mining people's contact lists.

The suit filed in federal court in Austin, Texas on Monday listed Apple among the defendants, arguing that mini-programs are not allowed on the company's coveted iPads, iPhones and devices without its approval.

Lawyers representing the 13 Austin smartphone owners argue that the applications invaded people's privacy by "stealing" personal address book data.

A hot trend toward making applications "mobile and social" resulted in smartphone users' contact lists being tapped into to help find friends or family members that people might want to connect with in online communities.

But the lawsuit argues that delving into address book data without express permission is an .

The list of defendants included "Angry Birds" game creator and US videogame giant Electronic Arts, as well as career-centered social network LinkedIn.

"Essentially, on the cheap and on the sly these defendants have impermissibly mined their App users' phones for contact data," lawyers stated in court documents made available online Thursday.

The suit calls for a court order barring the practice and for the 18 companies listed as defendants, including and Twitter, to pay substantial cash damages.

For such a case to succeed, lawyers must prove app users suffered quantifiable harm. Attorneys also want class-action status to represent anyone who may have used one of the offending apps.

Explore further: Premier US album chart revamped to include streaming

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Apple to seek safeguards for iPhone contact lists

Feb 15, 2012

Apple on Wednesday said application developers will have to get express permission from users before tapping into contact information stored in its popular gadgets, in a move to address privacy concerns.

Facebook sued for children 'liking' products

May 05, 2011

A father is suing Facebook for not getting permission from parents or guardians before letting members of the online social network know when children "Like" brands.

Suit charges Windows 7 smartphones track users

Sep 01, 2011

Microsoft is in the crosshairs of a lawsuit charging that smartphones powered by Windows 7 software noted the whereabouts of users even if they didn't want to be tracked.

Recommended for you

YouTube goes online for second Music Awards

Nov 20, 2014

The YouTube Music Awards are undergoing an overhaul for their second edition next year, scrapping a star-studded gala and instead looking at videos' online buzz.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

OldBlackCrow
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2012
This is kind of funny.... one, it seems people really don't read the agreements they agree to and two, how else do they think Facebook and such make money? This is almost laughable.
33Nick
not rated yet Mar 16, 2012
My answer was simple, I removed the Facebook and LinkedIn app from my iPhone. When you have confidential information, you can't afford to have companies prying inside address books. And reading fine prints and agreements is not something everyone can do. In the end, remove it. That will make them understand more than a lawsuit that will enrich a law firm.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2012
But if businesses are not free to violate every personal freedom then they aren't free, and the market is not a free market.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.