Gary Dinges
March 15, 2012

A class-action lawsuit filed this week in Austin alleges that makers of some of the world’s most popular mobile apps routinely steal address book data such as names, phone numbers, email addresses, job titles and even birthdays from millions of users without their knowledge or consent.

In the filing in U.S. District Court in Travis County, attorneys representing 13 people — 12 of them Central Texans — claim almost 20 apps, including Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp and Twitter, continue to be available for download even though developers appear to be violating policies put in place by distributors such as Apple’s App Store, Amazon’s Appstore and Google Play, formerly known as the Android Market.

… The lawsuit seeks to stop tech firms from harvesting data without permission and asks for monetary compensation.

Apple, which had sold more than 183 million iPhones and 55 million iPads as of Dec. 31, is named in the suit. Google and Amazon are not, but more companies could be added as the case progresses, said Jeff Edwards, lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

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