iOS apps will require permission to access contact data in light of Congress letter
As announced by Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr, iOS-based application will shortly need to ask permission to be capable of accessing a user’s address book. “Apps collecting and transmitting user contact data without prior permission violate our guidelines,” Neumayr explained. “We’re working to improve user experience for our customers, and any application trying to gain access to contact data will need explicit user approval in an upcoming software release, just like we have done with location services.”
No timeframe for iOS update has been provided. The move comes in response to an escalating controversy since it was revealed that the Path iOS application was uploading contact information without permission. In the light of the scandal, such companies as Twitter, Foursquare and Yelp have also been pressed to amend the ways they handle iOS address books. Until now, the California device maker has been reproached for lack of proper controls on iOS developers.
The news is accompanied by a report that claims US Congress to have sent Apple a letter, asking the tech giant to elaborate on how it handles user data. Namely, the message inquires that “iOS developer practices and policies may fall short when it comes to protecting personal user information and contacts.”
In addition to careful study of the iOS Developer Center website, US Congress also quotes a report suggesting that developers may have the detailed contact information of people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg along with the Dustin Curtis article entitled “Stealing Your Address Book.” “Many iOS app developers quietly understand that it’s acceptable to send a user’s whole address book without asking,” the author writes.
What’s in it for you? Don Kellogg who is a director of telecom research and insights at Nielsen remarked via New York Times that this research is a wake-up call for all potential advertisers who are waiting for smartphones to reach the majority. Also, it might be time for Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint to reconstruct their family data plans and offer more reasonable prices.
Christmas season is just around the corner, and it will be interesting to see if Nielsen finds a shift in the market share between iPhone and Android as these two are continuously making improvements on their operating systems for the pleasure of their customers.