California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today that Apple has agreed to better protect iOS users' privacy by disclosing the permissions an App Store app will require before a user downloads or purchases an app.
Google is facing an inquest after it was discovered that it had been bypassing Apple’s Safari privacy settings on its Mac and iOS platforms. Google, Vibrant Media Inc., WPP PLC's Media Innovation Group LLC and Gannett Co.'s PointRoll Inother advertising companies have been tracking the web browsing habits of Safari and Safari Mobile users even though Safari has built in security protection to prevent that from happening.
After the whole mess with social networking app, Path, uploading Contact data from iPhone users without asking, the U.S. Congress has started to get involved. Energy and Commerce Committee member Henry Waxman and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee member G. K. Butterfield issued an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking some probing questions regarding the iOS developer agreement.
What do some popular iOS apps to with your Contact data? Do they grab it without permission, transmit it without protection, and store it without regard to privacy? Or do they treat it right, with respect and responsibility?
Despite iPhone address books being transferred over SSL, and the data only being used to notifications when friends signed up, Path has apologized profusely and wiped any personal information from their servers.
Do you love Path, the slick, simple, moment-sharing social network app for iPhone? Well, you get ready to dial it back a notch, because apparently they're storing your entire address book, e-mail addresses and all, on their servers, and in plain, un-encrypted text. What kind of evil deeds does Path have planned for all that data?
What better New Year's resolution to start with than to check out all your in-app privacy settings, especially where Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are concerned? We know how it goes; you get a shiny new iPhone or iPad app and you just want to use it so you log in through Twitter of Facebook or Google because it's easy, quickly tap through all the set up pages, granting who knows what permissions and for how long, and then forget about it the moment the next shiny app comes along.