"Apps that collect or transfer users’ contact information without their prior consent violate our policies," an apple spokesperson told the online service CNET and the wall street journal blog all things digital on wednesday.
The online network path had recently been caught secretly uploading its iphone app’s entire address book to the company’s servers. Path justified that in this way it will be easier to search for acquaintances of each user at the network. After an outcry in the trade press, path apologized and is now seeking approval for it.
After the unveiling, experts used special programs to examine the outgoing data streams at other services. In the process, they discovered other apps that access address books in a crude manner and even seem to copy them to their servers, just like path does – without it being obvious to the user.
It is mostly social media services that actually need such data so that you can find your acquaintances with them. However, users also liked to know when their entire contact lists were stored somewhere in the network, albeit encrypted and securely, as the providers assured.
Accordingly, criticism of apple grew louder and louder, because the company did not set technical limits for app developers. After all, many people are affected: path had around 300,000 users at the end of last year – and the ios operating system, which runs the iphones and ipads as well as the ipod touch, had more than 200 million users.
In a future version of the software, as is already the case with geo-information, apps will only be able to access contact lists with the user’s consent, the apple spokesman told CNET. A few hours earlier, U.S. Congressmen had also officially demanded clarification from the company.
Last year, apple was already criticized when it became known that iphones and ipads permanently stored all of their users’ whereabouts. According to the group, the information is necessary for location services to function smoothly; however, it was stored longer than planned due to a software error. In the meantime, the data is deleted after one week and stored in a closed location.