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iPhone privacy class action case thrown out


It appears that Apple has one less legal headache to worry about. According to Eric Goldman's Technology & Marketing Law Blog, a class action suit alleging that Apple, app developers, and mobile advertising companies violated the privacy rights of iPhone users has been dismissed for lack of standing.

The court order actually deals with several class actions that were consolidated into a single lawsuit -- "In Re iPhone Application Litigation". TUAW first reported on two of these lawsuits (Lalo vs. Apple and Freeman vs. Apple) last year. The lawsuits dealt with the collection and unauthorized sharing of private user data with third-party advertising networks, and stemmed from a Wall Street Journal investigation that revealed that several iOS and Android apps were transmitting age, gender, location and device identifier information to those advertising companies.

That information was mined by the recipients, then used to serve up in-app advertisements. The exchange of information was done without the knowledge or consent of the users, and the hidden nature of the data exchange caused outrage among privacy advocates.

In the dismissal notice filed on September 20, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California brought up a number of reasons to dismiss the consolidated case, including the fact that not one plaintiff had actually suffered an injury as a result of the alleged privacy breaches, nor was there any direct injury traceable to Apple of the other defendants.

Apple's legal team still has its hands full with a number of other patent-infringement lawsuits, but the company should be relieved that at least one lawsuit has been thrown out the door by the courts.

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