Apple’s obsessive control over the apps that can be sold through its online store has come back to bite them.
Apple, Pandora and Dictionary.com were sued in federal court Monday for allegedly helping advertisers create secret profiles of iPhone users without their consent.
According to Wired’s Ryan Singel, “The tracking is possible because Apple assigns a UDID (Unique Device Identifier) to each iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and apps can access that number. Advertising companies figured out this number–-akin to a social security number for a phone—can be used for tracking, much like a cookie in a browser.”
Unlike browser cookies, which can be blocked or deleted, an UDID cannot be changed or masked.
The lawsuit calls out Apple’s app store policy:
“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. Defendant Apple has also aided and abetted the remaining Defendants in the commission of their legal wrongs against Plaintiffs and the proposed class.”
Steve Jobs is now on the docket with the high quality apps his company approved, including Toss It, Text4Plus, The Weather Channel, Talking Tom Cat, and Pimple Popper Lite.
bpopper [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries