A series of class action suits have been filed against Apple and the makers of many popular applications alleging that applications made for Apple's iPhones and iPads unlawfully track users and send that information on to third-party advertisers. One such recent case was filed against both Apple and Pandora, a mobile music application. In that case, the plaintiff argued that Apple's Unique Device IDs ("UDID"), that allow Apple to capture users' locations and other identifying information, is being collected by Pandora, along with users' age, gender, and/or location information and subsequently is shared with third-party ad networks. The complaint further alleges that users do not have the ability to disable the UDID in their phones and are unable to prevent their UDID information from being transferred to applications and third-party ad networks. In addition, the complaint alleges, such tracking activity is done without users' consent, and, until recently, most users were unaware of the UDIDs on their phones. Plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against future unauthorized tracking, as well as damages under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, state consumer protection laws, and various common law theories. This case is still pending.
TIP: Companies that hire third-parties to create applications for smart phones, or who create such applications themselves, should work closely with the developers to ensure that they understand if any tracking technologies are being used. Some technologies and activities may necessitate consumer notice and choice.