Apple: App access to contact data will require explicit user approval

“After a week of silence Apple has finally responded to reports that dozens of iOS applications are accessing user contact data without explicit permission,” John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD.

Paczkowski reports, “‘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.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Democrat congressmen Waxman, Butterfield seek iPhone privacy info from Apple – February 15, 2012
Path and Hipster apps found swiping users’ address books – February 9, 2012

11 Comments

    1. My impression is that they are currently in violation, and to fix that, any future release will need to follow those guidelines. Probably soft-pedaling this to allow for their own missing the boat on the issue. (But with some pressure to fix it by issuing a fixed version)

      1. If the terms have always been there, why 1) didn’t Apple check the programs for unauthorized behavior during the approval process, and 2) consider requiring user approval before iOS access of such personal data.

        1. Ts & Cs may specify apps aren’t allowed to send contact info over the ‘net, but technologically they can read contact info, and they can send it. As part of the approval process Apple has no practical way to test whether or not this is happening.

          Adding in the explicit user approval check for accessing contact info into the OS, just like location services works, will solve this problem.

      2. It would be nice if the developers were held accountable and were banned from the app store, then sued by apple on our behalf.

        That would teach them not to f*ck around.

        1. The App store is a privilege. Not a right. If you try to bend the rules, Apple reserves the right to kick you out of their fenced garden, so you can look in from the outside and weep.

  1. I’m sure Apple has notified offending app developers that they had better prepare a software update pronto to solve this issue, and that it will be more strictly enforced with opt-in requirements in a future iOS release.

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