18 big name companies sued over apps

John Moe Mar 15, 2012

A class action suit has been filed in Western Texas on behalf of 18 plaintiffs, going after some companies that you might have heard of. The defendants include Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp.

From the complaint:

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.

It appears to be inspired by several recent revelations about smartphone and tablet apps that grab information like address books off of user smartphones without clear permission being given. Apple and Google have already announced changes and revisions to make these permissions more explicit but the suit was filed regardless. Will it ever make it to trial? Will it get dismissed? What am I, Judge Judy, I don’t know! But it’s a sign that the case of the sneaky data-slurping apps is far from settled.  

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.