Ever since the news broke that Path, a popular social network and iOS app, was uploading users’ contact lists without asking for their permission, everyone has been waiting to see how Apple would respond.

After all, it is Apple’s App Store team that is approving these apps that cull private user data without authorization. And today, the Cupertino company finally broke its week-long silence on the subject…

An Apple spokesman gave a comment to AllThingsD this morning regarding the unauthorized uploading of user data:

“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD. “We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”

Path isn’t the only app that has been caught uploading user contact lists; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Yelp, and many others are also guilty of such actions. In fact, members of Congress sent a letter to Tim Cook this morning regarding the issue.

But it looks like the problem is solved, and all is well now. This is just another example of how the media can incite public panic and bring about change. This time it only took Apple about a week to respond to the allegations. Impressive.

What do you think? Did Apple make the right move here?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I’m glad they are gunna do it with the “next” software release….

    However – simple Sh*T like this should have been implemented a long time ago by Apple! And WTF are their App Store Pre-Screeners doing??? Playing F-ing video games all day, then at 4:55pm they “approve” their day’s caseload???!!!! J-H-C!!!

    • I think you need to change your wording from “next” to “future”

  • I am sure it will break my jailbreak, though.

    I will stay with the current solution, Ryan Petrich’ ContactPrivacy. Cydia to the rescue long before Apple once again. Keep up the good work Ryan!

  • In a new software release? iOS 5.1?

  • Anonymous

    I think its a good idea for Apple to handle this issue on the OS level. They probably should have added this from day 1, but at least now going forward people will at least have some conception that their private contact information is safe. You know, the interesting thing about Path-gate is that everybody in Silicon Valley acts as if they’re upstanding and innocent but the reality is that some of the nicest sounding companies are some of the most ruthless and untrustworthy when it comes to these privacy issues. Everybody talks about Facebook privacy issues, but they’re really the tip of the iceberg. Everybody is starting to be aware of the issues that are inherent with Facebook and the privacy issues that you need to watch out for on there. The bigger issues come from trusted companies that try and get this data (see Path for instance, they had a reputation for privacy when the reality was opposite) but these companies need to be more careful about these types of issues. Look at http://www.dirtyphonebook.com and other sites that leak out this personal data and put it out there, look at how Google makes this easily accessible to anybody that searches for it. That’s not good for the web if people are concerned about their private data and they feel scared to interact with sites and shop online. Apple gets a lot of heat for various issues as well, but I think its in their best interest to nip this in the bud right away. Their dictatorial control of the App Store in this case serves the platform well going forward. If its not built into RIM and Windows Phone and Android, I’d expect them to follow suit on a permission based approach as well.

  • @ericire I think you need to change your wording from “next” to “future”