Did you know that some of your favorite mobile apps are accessing your address book -- without your permission? Apparently some of the biggest and most popular mobile apps do this. They use your address book data to help you find friends who also use their program.
But oftentimes they do not explicitly tell consumers that their information is being transmitted. Or, that the information is actually being stored.
Recently, social network app Path received bad publicity. A user discovered that the application was using and transmitting his address book data. This included his contacts' names, emails, and phone numbers.
And the problem isn't just limited to Path. Other big-name apps including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and Foodspotting all have similar practices according to PC World.
In some cases the apps do not actually store the information they upload. But that may not really matter if the data isn't being transferred properly. Without a secure encryption, it would be easy for someone to hijack the transmission and gain access to the information.
Apple hasn't exactly been silent on the issue. The company does have policies in place for the apps offered in their online store. One requirement is that apps are not supposed to take address book data without the user's express permission. Yet somehow it seems some apps slipped through the company's monitoring cracks.
With the increased scrutiny, it's possible that app developers will soon be tweaking their ways. This means consumers may soon see more requests for mobile apps to access your address book. And ultimately, it will be up to you whether or not you want to download the app and give the program permission to use your address book data.