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Apple Hit With Data Tracking Lawsuit

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Although smartphones are become more like full-fledged computers with each passing week, laptops and desktops still offer a user greater control over their personal information. Data like browsing history and user profiles are easily controllable with strict cookie behavior in a web browser, but smartphones -- dependent on Unique Device Identifiers, or UDIDs -- still allow a means for advertisers to track data and target individual users.

And one iPhone owner aims to put an end to it.

Jonathan Lalo has launched a lawsuit against Apple and several app developers for gathering personal information without a user's consent. Lalo alleges the UDID present in iPhones and iPads allow advertisers to track what apps are being downloaded and how frequently they're being used. The suit also claims that some apps are actively selling user info such as location, age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and political views -- even when the particular apps aren't based around such information.

Apps named as co-defendants include Pandora, Paper Toss, the Weather Channel, and

The lawsuit specifies the use of an unblockable UDID as a violation of privacy laws and an instance of computer fraud given that Apple claims every app is reviewed and guaranteed not to transmit user data without the owner's permission.

The suit says, "Defendant Apple, by exercising significant control over App developers and sharing profits with them, has created a 'community of interest' with the other Defendants to render them joint venturers, who are responsible for each other's torts."

Currently Lalo and his lawyers are seeking anyone who has downloaded an app to their iPhone or iPad since December 2008 to achieve class-action status.

But it's going to take a lot of folks to bring down a courtroom vet like Apple.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.