Local man sues USA Today over privacy implications of its Android app

Alexander Yershov says he never gave the newspaper permission to divulge any of his personal information, yet its Android app forwards all sorts of data about him to Adobe Systems.

So, of course, he is suing.

In a lawsuit filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Yershov wants to be name lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against USA Today - and is seeking $2,500 per alleged infraction plus punitive damages and lawyers' fees.

Yershov says that every time a user of the the USA Today app on Android devices views a video clip, his or her unique Android ID, GPS data and information about the clip is forwarded to Adobe, which offers a service to help companies track users across the mobile Web. And since USA Today never asked if that's OK, Yershov says, it's violating the federal
Video Privacy Protection Act
- passed in 1988 in reaction to the disclosure of then Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's video rentals.

Yershov adds this is only an issue for Android apps because Apple has taken steps to block the release of such "personally identifiable information" from iOS devices.

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    Comments

    Awesome

    By on

    Most people have no idea how much apps snoop nowadays. It's criminal, or should be.

    up
    19

    I've updated simple

    By on

    apps that I really rely on...only to discover the New Access Permissions say that it requires access to my camera, microphone, contacts, and phone dialer.

    Unless you're giving me the weather forecast inside my purse, you do not need access to my camera. Unless you're calling my mom instead of using the GPS to help me tell when the bus is coming, you do not need access to my contacts and phone dialer.

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    11

    Dunno, was out of town

    By on

    Way down in Foster RI for their Old Home Days festival (yes, really, kidlet's way into goats these days and they had a whole goat-judging competition going on).

    If you have a crowd estimate, though, sounds like you might know what it was about.

    Huh

    By on

    Interesting, I was working about, oh ... (runs to Google maps) about 90 feet from the rally location and never heard a peep. No idea anything allegedly happened there yesterday. By comparison, I can hear the tour bus guides quite clearly and the Israel-Palestine rally was a loudish roar, like being outside Gillette Stadium during a game.. Must have been a small rally, or perhaps only mimes attended.

    follow up- Fox says "a few hundred" attendees

    By on

    ...which makes sense, both from the photos and the (lack of) noise. Fox has a front-row seat for State House protests, of course.

    http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/26121379/protesters-gather-at-anti-ille...

    OFL probably caught some misleading internet reports-- The Blaze, that bastion of accuracy, said "thousands" showed up, and some others said 10,000 and 8000.

    The only crowds I saw in that area yesterday were the shiny faced slow moving folks with meat sweat who got free Wahlburgers and tater tots at Faneuil Hall, then tried to walk.

    Just the latest outraged bigot

    ..hate fest.

    I like how the Governor made a speech that basically said we're still living down the decision to ship Jewish kids back to Europe in 1939 and this just comes with the territory of not being a vile shithole nation.

    Nonetheless, there is a notable 1/3rd or so that is avid to be vile.

    I hope this doesn't prompt

    By on

    I hope this doesn't prompt USA today to stop their excellent coverage of privacy, electronic spying, the deep web, and such like. The local papers dumb down and only Wired magazine and the typical high tech web sites like ARS Technica do better.
    Also: how did this get threadjacked to talk about protest rallies or is there a connection ?

    Look at who first mentioned it.

    There's your answer.

    Otherwise, to restore the thread.

    I've heard that Android apps are loaded with exploitable holes but don't plan on owning a smart phone until the hype price structure collapses and the service pigs are desperate to scrape the barrel bottom where I like to live.

    The IT industry desperately depends on fleecing gizmo rubes who simply must be the first to have something.

    And this app system is like a giant invitation for sleazy developers to further fleece said rubes with sketchy products.

    Typo

    By on

    "Yershov says that every time a user the USA Today app on Android devices views a video clip..."

    Fixed

    By on

    Just not with Android auto-correct :-). Thanks.