A group of iPhone and iPad users have sued Apple Inc alleging that certain applications (apps) were passing personal user information to third-party advertisers without consent, a court filing showed.
In the lawsuit seeking class action, filed in a federal court in California, the complainants sought a ban on passing of user information without consent and monetary compensation, according to the case document posted on scribd.com.
Along with Apple, maker of popular apps such as Textplus4, Paper Toss, Weather Channel, Dictionary.com, Talking Tom Cat and Pumpkin Maker were also named co-defendants in the lawsuit.
None of the defendants adequately informed plaintiffs of their practices, and none of the defendants obtained plaintiffs' consent to do so, the suit filed on December 23 said.
The Unique Device ID that Apple assigns to its devices has become an attractive feature for third-party advertisers looking for a means of reliably tracking mobile device users' online activities, the lawsuit said.
In April, Apple amended its developer agreement to ban apps from sending data to third parties except for information directly necessary for the functionality of the apps.
However, the lawsuit alleged that Apple has taken no steps to actually implement its changed developer agreement or enforce it in any meaningful way due to criticism from advertising networks.
Last month, Facebook said some of its applications violated the social networking company's policies against sharing user information and had promised to fix the problem.
On December 16, the U.S. Commerce Department's Internet Policy Task Force said in a report that the department should have its own privacy office and develop voluntary, enforceable codes of conduct for data companies and advertisers that track people on the Internet.
The case is in re: Freeman et al v. Apple Inc et al, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division, No. 5:10-cv-05881-HRL.
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)