A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: iphone

Sell Personal Information to Marketers; Buy a Lawsuit

By Jillian Raines

 

Who doesn’t love their Pandora or Dictionary.com App? Or doesn’t think that playing PaperToss is a great way to spend their morning commute? What about the WeatherChannelApp? I know—so much easier than opening your computer and going to weatherchannel.com to see what you should wear on any given day.

What if you found out that the companies behind these Apps, and a bunch of others, were selling your personal information—like your age, location, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views, and your phone’s “uniquedeviceidentifier (UDID) — to marketers? And even worse, that Apple was allowing this to happen?

That is precisely what multiple California residents are claiming in three separate, nearlyidentical lawsuitsfiledagainstAppleandseveralAppmakers. Though the legal claims vary slightly, the factual allegations are virtually the same; it will not be surprising, in fact, if all of these suits are soon joined.

It is not clear who will win but regardless of outcome, these suits will surely have significant implications for both consumerprivacyadvocates and companies likeAppleandGoogle. (more…)

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So This Prototype Cell Phone Walks Into a Bar…

It reads like the kind of not-quite-best-selling fiction that you might imagine only stranded travelers would resort to reading: a prototype cell phone goes missing and photos of it in a disassembled state show up on a technology news web site weeks later, apparently having changed hands for thousands of dollars along the way. It’s hardly Harry Potter. It is, however, an article in the L.A. Times; a secret prototype of Apple’s next iPhone has been photographed and posted on Gizmodo.com, and Gizmodo admits to having paid $5,000 for the privilege.

The bulk of the article recounts how exactly the phone came to be in the possession of Gizmodo, and eventually points out that the phone may have been stolen. The story reported that Gizmodo may be in the clear, because journalists generally don’t face penalties for being in receipt of stolen documents.  However, depending on what some very specific facts turn out to be, Gizmodo may actually be in serious trouble. (more…)

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