Mobile Apps Under Scrutiny

By Melina Rohan, Director Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, ADMA

High profile app developers are facing increased scrutiny as a result of a class action lawsuit being launched by 13 smartphone users in Texas.

The companies named in the lawsuit include Apple, Path, Hipster, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp!, Foursquare, Rovio (Angry Birds) and Zepto who have allegedly being collecting and storing user’s address books without users’ permission.

The 150 page complaint has accused these companies of “surreptitiously harvest, upload and illegally steal the owner’s address book data without the owner’s knowledge or consent”. The complaint appears to have come about as a result of reports that app developers are scooping up users’ address books without notifying them.

The complaint starts with the sentence, Don’t take things that aren’t yours and goes onto state that millions of wireless mobile device owners now keep their private address books – lists of hundreds or even thousands of personal and professional contacts – on their mobile wireless devices and are some of the most personal data that owners carry on their devices.

The claimants are asking that the courts order the companies to stop their practices or provide monetary relief for the invasion of privacy under the Texan penal code section 16.02 (b) (intentional interception, disclosure or use of wire or electronic communication), 31.03 (consolidated theft offenses) and 33.02 (breach of computer security), negligence, common law misappropriation and other Texan laws.

For further information or to view a copy of the complaint, please contact us on regulatory.affairs@adma.com.au

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