Path adds better security to further address privacy concerns
Popular iPhone social network, Path has been updated again, this time to version 2.1.1 to further address the privacy concerns that gained widespread media attention over the last couple of months. The new version of Path will hash your Contact data including names, e-mail addresses, Twitter handles, and Facebook profile IDs. Hashing basically takes the data and applies a cryptographic algorithm to it that renders it unintelligible to anyone who might try to intercept it as it's transmitted between your device and Path's server. (A so-called "man in the middle" attack.)
We take privacy and security seriously, and we believe your data deserves to be well-protected. That’s why, with the release of Path 2.1.1, we are enhancing our security by hashing user contact data so that it is anonymized. This means last names, phone numbers, email addresses, Twitter handles and Facebook IDs. We collect this data to connect you with those who are closest to you.
The extra precautions are welcome, and if it increases sensitivity to privacy in general, well worth the controvery and attention it got a while back. It wasn't the first time, it won't be the last, but hopefully it will become even less frequent going forward.
Although developers should be responsible with how they store and utilize people's data, it's also vital for us to understand how our data can be used online. Apps like Girls Around Me used data in a way that can be described as just plain scary. The worst part is they weren't really pulling anything that the entire world didn't already have access to. This is why it's so important for users to understand how to change and edit their privacy settings across all social networks. And the best rule still applies -- if you don't want the whole world to know or see something, just don't post it to begin with.
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