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Apple Privacy Concerns Go To Court 73

An anonymous reader writes "From the article: 'Apple is being sued for allegedly letting mobile apps on the iPhone and iPad send personal information to ad networks without the consent of users.' Some of the apps listed are on the Android Market as well, but there is no mention of a similar problem for Google. One wonders if Apple could be persuaded to strip access to the unique phone identifiers from apps." A followup article with an industry lawyer suggests that this lawsuit could be the first of many as users push back against privacy intrusions by app developers and ad networks.
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Apple Privacy Concerns Go To Court

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  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @10:55AM (#34730024)

    One wonders if Apple could be persuaded to strip access to the unique phone identifiers from apps.

    Apple won't do this any time soon. They are very demanding when it comes to backwards compatibility, and even if they kept the API but gave a dummy identifier, this would break many apps. The most I can see happening is that Apple may put a clause in their guidelines. But they did that already, and got criticised for it. It's possible that they could generate a different permanent dummy identifier on a per-app basis, but this would still break several uses for the UDID.

    Referring to the UDID as "personal information" strikes me as being quite inaccurate. It uniquely identifies a device, not a person. You cannot use the UDID to get any actual personal information unless the user gives that information. The only way to get personal information without the user's consent when you only have a UDID is for developers to collude; if a user gives personal information to one app that records it along with their UDID, then the developer of that app shares that information with another developer who only has the UDID, obviously that will work. But the same arguments mostly apply to things like IP addresses as well, and those aren't usually considered to be personal information.

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