Does the information in your online address book have any value? A group of online developers say it doesn't and that, therefore, you shouldn't complain if they copy it without bothering to ask.
Using that argument, the developers want a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit accusing them of violating consumers' privacy by swiping the names and email addresses stored on their computer or smartphone.
The developers basically say the consumers have no "standing" -- meaning that they have not been harmed or affected in any way and therefore should, basically, sit down and shut up.
Besides, the developers note, in most cases they didn't charge the consumers anything for the apps they downloaded so there were no economic damages.
You might ask why somebody would bother to steal something that has no value, but that's another question.
It all started ...
The origin of the case dates back to March 2012, when a Texas resident, Marc Opperman, sued Path and other developers who allegedly uploaded address books from his iPhone. A month earlier, the Federal Trade Commission had sued Path for allegedly violating its users' privacy by swiping their address books.
Path, a somewhat obscure social network, apologized and said it had deleted the information. It also settled the FTC complaint.
Since then, Opperman's original case has expanded to include many more developers, including Instagram, Yelp, Hipster and Twitter.
The developers have asked U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco to dismiss the suit with prejudice, meaning that it could not be refiled, saying that consumers have not demonstrated any damage.
“Plaintiffs have not identified any use of their address books by any defendant or third party that caused plaintiffs any harm or that devalued plaintiffs’ address book information,” they argue.