Social apps create privacy breakdown for smartphone owners

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Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 7:25pm

A new scandal developed in the world of technology. It was discovered that the social network, Twitter has admitted to copying the address books from individual’s smartphones and saving them to their server without the permission of the owner. BBC News made a report on this outrage.

This indignity became known when an app developer in Singapore noticed that his contacts were copied from his iPhone address book without his consent when he was using the social network, Path. The CEO of Path apologized and stated that Path would ask users to share their contact information, but he also said that it was an “industry best practice” to download the address book information.

It was reported that iPhone apps from Facebook, FourSquare, Instagram, Foodspotting and Yelp have also accessed the address books from smartphones without the permission of the owner.

It was reported that all social networks would use the data from the smartphones to identify friends who are using the same network and notify the user. By doing this, the network would need to get the permission from the user first, but that was not always the case. The data being retrieved included names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses and according to the Los Angeles Times, the data taken was stored for about 18 months.

Twitter representatives said that they will update the app and make the privacy policy more clear to its users.

The networks have said that they will be making changes to their apps and will notify the user before importing many data.

The Path company has realized the mistake they made. Path chief executive David Morin said, “we made a mistake…through the feedback we’ve received from all of you, we now understand that the way we had designed our ‘Add Friends’ feature was wrong.”

Path has not deleted all of the data that was collected off their servers and have updated their app to ensure users privacy.

This information was taken from BBC News at www.bbc.co.uk/technology-17051910.

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