SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc tightened its rules over software that accesses address-book information, following a controversy over social-networking applications such as Path uploading users’ contacts data without permission.
Apple is changing its policy to require app makers to get users’ approval before uploading data from their address books, said Tom Neumayr, a spokesman for Apple. Applications that upload contact-list information will need to be updated to meet the new requirements or be removed from Apple’s App Store.
“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” Neumayr said. “As we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”
The change follows criticism of the social-networking application Path, which was discovered to be uploading and storing users’ address-book information. Path Chief Executive Officer Dave Morin apologized to users last week for accessing their contacts without permission and vowed to delete all the data.
Accessing address data has become a widespread, little- known practice among many developers for the iPhone, said Alex Stamos, vice president of ISec Partners, a security consulting firm with offices in San Francisco, Seattle and New York.
“It’s extremely common,” Stamos said.