Does Apple allow apps to steal your address book?

Does Apple allow apps to steal your address book?
You might have never heard about Path - and that probably is not a huge omission. What you should know, though, is that the application would access and basically steal your whole address book and upload it to its own servers. And yes - the very same address book with all of your contacts and their information.

How is this possible? Turns out, it’s not just about Path - it’s about Apple and iOS in general. Dustin Curtis dug into the issue and polled 15 social app makers whether they can access the address book on your iPhone. The answer? Yes, for 13 out of those 15 app makers!

So basically, in this case, Apple seems to go with the quiet, ludicrous assumption that it’s okay for applications to be able to access your whole contact list. Moreover, this has somehow flown under the news radar for a while. Some of the apps even brag about having Mark Zuckerberg’s and Bill Gates’ phone numbers.

In the case of Path, which blew up the scandal, the app that is the gateway for a social network for closer friends, would suggest you contacts by just picking data from your own address book.

Curtis argues that in a competitive environment like the App Store any opportunity to have wider exposure is used by developers. The address book falls into that category - some programmers seem to think that they can even use this information to better place their apps. And it’s really something that developers should also be blamed for, but on the flipside of things, if Apple allows it - why not? The big problem is Apple which makes it very, very easy to get access to address book data.

That’s strange because all other parts of iOS seem heavily protected. Applications can’t even access pictures from your camera roll and location is also well guarded. We’ll definitely look for an official explanation from Apple about this - stay tuned.

source: Dustin Curtis via ZDNet

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9 Comments

1. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Thats really scary! WTF is Apple playing at??

2. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

You are a fool if you think they are the only ones. There are things like this in all mobile OS.

6. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Yeah but Apples known for its tight restrictions on their apps, I'd expect this from Andriod but not WP7 or Apple.

3. ivanko34

Posts: 617; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

You bought an iPhone then apple owns you

4. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Hmmmm does apple steal your phone book??? Well seeing as apple continually monitors its users locations and also removes any sense of free will or individual thought from their users then its not beyond the realms of possibility that apple has done this also

5. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

What if hackers got hold of it?

7. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

Mr.Cook was not available for comment but Siri said this..."I do it out of love" "to protect you".

8. jimeliz

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 03, 2012

hmmm, sounds like Skynet?hehe

9. rcrider4

Posts: 118; Member since: Nov 14, 2011

I do find that it is useful for a few apps, but this feature should be something each app has to have permission to do, just like location services are handled now

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