Mobile apps are a driving force behind the popularity of smartphones. These software applications open the gateway to an entire universe of possibilities. Social networking, games, news and health trackers are just a few categories that make up the over 2 million available apps in Apple's App Store.
These apps are fun and helpful, but they can also be a cause for privacy concerns. In fact, if you used certain social media apps during a specific time-frame, you might be owed some money from a proposed privacy settlement.
Are you eligible for a class-action settlement?
What we're talking about is a proposed privacy settlement. If you used an Apple gadget to download certain apps between 2009 and 2012, you might be eligible for a small payout.
The notice of the class action and proposed settlement, revealed by Law360, was filed in a California federal court earlier this week. It's the result of a privacy lawsuit that was initiated all the way back in 2012.
Consumers brought the lawsuit against a handful of messaging and social media companies, as well as Apple because they used the iOS feature "Find Friends." The plaintiffs claim that app developers violated their privacy by transferring users' contact lists to company servers without informing them.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar agreed with the plaintiffs. In his ruling, Tigar said, "Fundamentally, this case is about whether Apple's conduct and that of application developers violated community norms of privacy. A 'reasonable' expectation of privacy is an objective entitlement founded on broadly based and widely accepted community norms."
These eight companies are included in the settlement and will contribute to a payment fund for consumers:
If you downloaded and used any of those apps on an Apple device during the specific period of time, you might be due a small portion of the $5.3 million settlement. The amount each individual receives depends on the total number of impacted users who also apply for the funds. Since millions of people are potentially impacted, the payout could be just a few dollars per person.
Proceeds are expected to be distributed later this year in the form of Amazon credits or check. However, the judge needs to approve the settlement before it's official.
As part of the settlement, app makers are being required to inform eligible users by email. Click here for more details about the settlement and eligibility requirements.