Top Apps Download Your Whole Address Book

Twitter, Path blamed in privacy controversy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 16, 2012 2:15 PM CST
File photo of an iPhone showing a Twitter account.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(Newser) – Leading smartphone apps are taking a lot more of our information than we realize. If you use Twitter's "Find Friends" feature, the company receives every phone number and email address in your address book—a fact that Twitter hadn't clarified, the Los Angeles Times reports. The company now says it will fix the problem. But it's just one of many companies storing user information with a view toward ultimately using it for advertising.

Just last week, it emerged that the social network Path was downloading iPhone users' full address books. After the company apologized, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, and FoodSpotting all said they planned to clarify their policies in service updates. Lawmakers, meanwhile, are calling on Apple itself to be more vigilant, and analysts think the company was likely aware of the situation. The firm has "basically left the barn open, and people are surprised that companies have run into the barn and stolen everything," says an expert. Yesterday, Apple said it will now ensure that third-party apps don't take address book information without permission, USA Today reports.

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