Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Privacy Should Be Apple's Stronghold But It Let Users Down - Twitter Steals Contacts

Bad Apple!  That’s about all we can say about the Twitter accessing user contact information without telling people about it and without asking for permission first.  What’s up with that, Apple?  This is just plain stupid and wrong.

And here is Twitter’s response after getting caught red-handed:  “We want to be clear and transparent in our communications with users. Along those lines, in our next app updates, which are coming soon, we are updating the language associated with Find Friends — to be more explicit. In place of ‘Scan your contacts,’ we will use “Upload your contacts” and “Import your contacts” (in Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android, respectively).” (Source:  Media Bistro)

Seriously, this is the type of behavior I expect from Facebook, maybe even Google, but certainly not Twitter, Apple’s iOS social partner.

What now?  Certainly, apps like Twitter and Path last week should never have had access to user contacts with their explicit approval.

Now, Apple is saying that future apps will need to get user permission before getting access to those private data.  

Congress will certainly be looking into this because privacy is becoming a hot topic due to past bad behaviors from Facebook and Google.

What Apple needs to do now is review the whole approval process as well as app policies to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  And Apple has to be very transparent about privacy.  Done right, it could make Apple the champion for the average mobile warrior and force competitors to follow.

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