A California man has sued Apple Inc., saying the computer manufacturer’s mobile apps violate his privacy. It is at least the second lawsuit against Apple following a Dec. 17 story in the Wall Street Journal detailing how software programs on iPhones and Android smartphones communicate details about consumers to third parties without consumers’ consent.
Anthony Chiu’s lawsuit regards Apple’s Unique Device Identifier (UDID), which is unique to each iPhone and is shared with app makers. Using the UDID, applications can track users’ browsing history across the Internet.
Chiu believes that raises serious privacy concerns.
“Anyone who has used a mobile device to browse the Internet to obtain advice about hemorrhoids, sexually transmitted disease, abortion, drug rehabilitation, or care for elderly; to search for jobs, seek out new romantic partners, engage in political activity; in fact, to do more or less anything; can be reasonably sure that the browsing history created by such investigation has been incorporated into a detailed dossier for sale to marketers,” Chiu alleges in the suit, according to PCmag.com.
What’s interesting is that these exact same things can be tracked by software makers, online tracking companies and advertisers on any laptop or desktop computer using cookies, web beacons and other tracking tools.
Apple declined to comment. Chiu also sued 50 yet-to-be-named defendants, which raises the possibility that he may expand his suit to include app makers, too.
Image: Nina Matthews, via Flickr.com