Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been targeted along with several of its app makers in a class action law suit over privacy concerns. The firms were targeted after it emerged that several apps had been automatically uploading user’s address books without their knowledge or permission. The suit was filed by thirteen individuals and eighteen separate app makers were listed as defendants. The US District Court in Dallas Texas originally heard the initial complaint last week.
The full list of app makers being sued is as follows: Apple, Beluga, Burbn, Chillingo, Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), Facebook, Foodspotting, Foursquare Labs, Gowalla, Hipster, Instagram, Kik Hipster, LinkedIn Corporation (LNKD), Path, Rovio Mobile, Twitter, Yelp Inc (YELP), and ZeptoLab UK. The list includes some of the most widely used apps on the market including those of several popular social networks as listed above. Doubtlessly the firms will deny the charges levied against them as some have been doing in similar cases.
The new case points to the increased concern many are feeling over the intrusions into their privacy of the companies they trust with their information. In the past year among the data breaches by hackers and computer theft reported in the media there has been a steady stream of stories relating to the way legitimate seeming companies are taking their customer’s data without their prior consent.
If the suit is successful in making it to a full trial the firms listed above will have much to worry about in what could be a long protracted legal process. Any trial which inspects the practices of the firms may bring to light other infringements on user privacy. Privacy is becoming a greater concern among people who see the infringements as breaches of their rights. Whether or not it would be successful the suit could enlighten many of the dangers of the online economy and give regulators greater scope to control the flow of information from user to host.