Apple is getting hit with a class action lawsuit over personal data sent to advertisers by mobile apps, Bloomberg says.
10 days ago we wrote about a Wall Street Journal study that purports to show mobile apps, particularly on the iPhone, leak or sell all kinds of personal private data to advertisers behind your back.
We’re sceptical, however, that this is as big a deal as this sounds. It looks like this is the data that advertising networks routinely use for targeting.
What’s really different and bad about this, critics say, is that mobile devices have a unique identifier called UDID, that allows the device to be tracked individually. And there’s also the fact that Apple says mobile apps need users to opt-in before they can transmit personal data, but in the case of these ad networks, they don’t.
To mobile ad networks, the UDID works basically like a cookie, which is a piece of tracking info your browser keeps when you go online. Unlike a cookie, a UDID can’t be deleted, but who deletes their cookies anyway?
Bloomberg plays up the scare angle writing, “Apple’s iPhones and iPads are encoded with identifying devices that allow advertising networks to track what applications users download, how frequently they’re used and for how long.”
Oh my! How scary that sounds! Steve Jobs has a Big Brother “identifying device” in your iPhone!
But, if you go halfway down the story you get a much more innocuous explanation. They’re talking about UDID, which has been standard on mobile devices for a very long time.
Also of note is the law firm behind the class action suit, KamberLaw, which was also the law firm that sued Netflix over its really cool $1 million contest to improve its recommendation algorithm, and Facebook over Beacon.
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