The Path app is a very popular photo sharing service. We have seen a lot of good things from the company recently. But it has made a huge mistake too. It seems Path automatically uploads iPhone users’ entire address books to its servers. Not asking permission to do this is quite problematic. Not surprisingly, that has gotten the company in hot waters. The company is rolling out a new update to make this functionality opt-in.
We made a mistake. Over the last couple of days users brought to light an issue concerning how we handle your personal information on Path, specifically the transmission and storage of your phone contacts… We believe you should have control when it comes to sharing your personal information. We also believe that actions speak louder than words. So, as a clear signal of our commitment to your privacy, we’ve deleted the entire collection of user uploaded contact information from our servers… If you accept and later decide you would like to revoke this access, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will promptly see to it that your contact information is removed.
The intent here was most likely not nefarious. But with Google, Apple, and many other companies in hot waters over privacy issues, this was a terrible mistake that could have been avoided. Giving users more control over their data is the right move by Path. It will be interesting to see whether the issue ends here.