No matter how great its devices are, Apple simply can’t afford to ignore the fact that some of the top app developers for iOS have been collecting data on users without asking for permission. Apps such as Twitter, Yelp, Path, and Foursquare were all collecting data this way. That is going to stop though. Apps that use address book data will require explicit permission to do so.
Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines… 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,
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD. As always, the U.S. congress is interested in investigating this issue. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has already received a letter from Congress which expresses concerns about the way apps handle user data:
claims have been made that “there’s a quiet understanding among many iOS app developers that it is acceptable to send a user’s entire address book, without their permission, to remote servers and then store it for future reference. It’s common practice, and many companies likely have your address book stored in their database.
Let’s not forget that Android and other mobile platforms are not exactly without their issues. Apple has a very clean platform in iOS. But it simply couldn’t afford to let some apps get away with accessing users’ address books without asking for permission. It will be interesting to see whether any app will get the axe over this.