Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

iPhone Users Beware: Storm8 Apps Allegedly Collect Phone Numbers

Apple proclaims in their ads, "There's an app for that." Well, it turns out that there is also an app that allegedly steals your personal information.

A recent lawsuit against the gaming developer Storm8 claims the developer has been collecting the cell phone numbers of iPhone users who downloaded Storm8's games from the iTunes app store.

Online Media Daily reports that the lawsuit claims that user phone numbers are not necessary for any of Storm8 games, but the games nonetheless contain software that automatically collects and transmits the telephone number of all iPhone users who download any Storm8 game.

The lawsuit has been filed by Michael Turner who is a resident of Lynwood, WA. He claims that the data harvesting committed by the software developer violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as certain California state laws.

He also claims that when he downloaded the games during the summer that the developer "harvested his wireless telephone number without notifying him or obtaining his consent."

While he has outlined how Storm8 has collected his number as well as other users' numbers, there may not be a legal remedy.

This is because that the law requires that not only was a personal computer accessed, but also that the computer was also damaged.

Turner's suit may have to get creative about how Storm8's practices caused damage. His lawyer says that Storm8 caused damage because it "impaired the integrity of the data stored on a protected computer."

However, it may be a tough sell. While there are certain data that are considered protected such as social security numbers and bank accounts, a cell phone number is not protected data. It is information that people give out freely.

If you are an iPhone, or other smart phone user, just beware that the apps you use may be using your personal information. Until we get a decision about what happens to developers who harvest your information, be careful about which apps you download.

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