Two separate groups of iPhone and iPad users have sued Apple Inc alleging that certain software applications were passing personal user information to third-party advertisers without consent.

In the lawsuits seeking class action, filed in a federal court in California, the plaintiffs sought a ban on passing of user information without consent and monetary compensation, according to case documents.

At some point, both cases may be consolidated into one by the judges presiding over the cases, said Majed Nachawati, a partner at law firm Fears & Nachawati, one of the attorneys for the complainants.

Along with Apple, makers of popular apps such as Textplus4, Paper Toss, Weather Channel,, Talking Tom Cat and Pumpkin Maker were also named co-defendants in the lawsuits filed on December 23.

The lawsuits follow a December 18 report in the Wall Street Journal that said smartphones apps may be sharing personal data “widely and regularly,” and that iPhone apps transmitted more data than apps on phones using Google’s Android operating system.

Concerns about user privacy have emerged with the rapid growth of smartphones that spawn apps, and social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The Unique Device ID that Apple assigns to its devices has become an attractive feature for third-party advertisers looking for a way to reliably track mobile device users’ online activities, one of the lawsuits said.

In April, Apple amended its developer agreement to ban apps from sending data to third parties except for information directly necessary for the functionality of the apps.

However, the lawsuits allege that Apple has taken no steps to actually implement its revised developer agreement or enforce it in any meaningful way due to criticism from advertising networks.

Why am I not surprised?!? It was found out that dozens of Facebook applications, including Zynga’s wildly popular casual games FarmVille, Mafia Wars and FrontierVille, transmit user data in violation of the social network’s privacy settings, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal’s investigation finds that applications like FarmVille have been transmitting identifying information to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies that could grant advertisers and online tracking firms access to players’ names and the names of their Facebook friends. This even affected Facebook users who have their profiles set to the most strict privacy settings.

Facebook users’ unique ID numbers were transmitted to outside companies which provides anyone with the name of a Facebook user. Application makers Rapleaf and LOLapps were named alongside Zynga in the findings. A Zynga spokesperson is quoted, saying that the company “has a strict policy of not passing personally identifiable information to any third parties”. It says it will be working with Facebook to improve privacy.

What’s that? They will be working with Facebook to improve privacy? Just now? When they got caught?

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