SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The OpenFeint mobile gaming network collected data and personal information from its users’ cellphone-linked profiles and sold the information to Internet application developers, according to a federal class action.
Lead plaintiff Matthew Hines claims Openfeint accessed, monitored and stored the unique device identifiers for mobile devices along with personally identifiable information such as a user’s exact GPS location, Internet browsing history and Facebook and Twitter profiles.
OpenFeint’s business plan included accessing and disclosing personal information without authorization to mobile-device application developers, advertising networks and web-analytic vendors that market mobile applications, according to the complaint. The company acquired such information covertly, without adequate notice or consent, involving 100 million consumer mobile devices.
After accessing one of OpenFeint’s applications, the company bypassed both the technical and code barriers designed to limit unauthorized access, as well as his mobile device’s privacy and security settings, Hines claims.
OpenFeint used the data it collected to collaborate with application developers and create a database that further enabled the tracking scheme and conducted systematic and continuing surveillance of the class members’ mobile-device activity, which continues today.
In spite of this activity, OpenFeint assures customers that its applications are all safe for downloading, according to the suit.
OpenFeint presents itself as a standalone application that provides a “social platform” for mobile devices, allowing application developers to add social-networking aspects to their gaming applications, including Facebook connect integration and cloud storage for saved games, according to the complaint.
But in reality, Hines claims, OpenFeint is “essentially a mobile platform to obtain user’s [unique device identifiers], aggregate user’s data, and sell such for financial gain.”
Hines and two other named plaintiffs sued OpenFeint and its Japan-based parent GREE International, alleging computer fraud, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, bad faith and seven other statutory violations. They seek more than $5 million in damages. The plaintiffs are represented by David Parisi of Parisi & Havens in Sherman Oaks, Calif.