Congress jumps into the Path address book fray

Apple is in a bit of hot water with the government thanks to some privacy violations committed by popular social networking service, Path. Recently, the photo sharing company was caught with its hand in the cookie jar, as it uploaded users’ address books to its servers without permission and Congress sent a letter to the iPhone maker regarding how it manages users’ data and how it lets apps access these.

Sadly, this kind of behavior has quickly become standard practice with other fashionable social apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Foodspotting, Yelp, and Gowalla to name a few. Washington has given Apple until February 29 to answer a slew of questions that pertain to how the company’s approval process for apps work, and how it plans to solve these privacy matters.

In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the legislators state: “This incident raises questions about whether Apple’s iOS app developer policies and practices may fall short when it comes to protecting the information of iPhone users and their contacts.”

All of this just comes off really sketchy, as it raises potentially serious security risk. The fact that people’s personal information like their contacts are being stored by an unapproved third-party is nothing short of alarming. Here it is, the public seems to think that Android is the least most secured platform, but with these latest developments iOS proves to be no better.

We tend to think that Apple should have made the app policy clear on warning users when their data will be accessed by apps – much like it does for location data – but this letter also strikes us as a bit of grandstanding by Washington. Many politicians read alarming headlines in physical newspapers and feel like they can score political points by holding companies’ feet to the fire, even if they don’t actually understand what’s going on.

[via TNW]

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