Last week, there was much controversy over a popular iOS app Path uploading users’ entire address book to the company’s servers without alerting users that their information was being taken. Following this ordeal, U.S. Congressmen Henry Waxman and G.K. Butterfield sent a direct letter to Apple Inc. (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, asking for the Cupertino company’s data collection policies on App Store developers, specifically address book data being collected and stored by the apps’ developers.
“This incident raises questions about whether Apple’s iOS app developer policies and practices may fall short when it comes to protecting the information of iPhone users and their contacts.”
Butterfield and Waxman then quote parts of Apple’s iOS developer website which states that Apple provides a comprehensive collection of tools and frameworks for storing, accessing and sharing data. It is then questioned whether Apple requires apps to request user permission before transmitting data about a user.”
As soon as the Congressmen reached out to Tim Cook, Apple responded with a reply, that the issue will be addressed through a iOS update very soon, likely iOS 5.1.
“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD. “We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”
Apple has been releasing iOS 5.1 beta software updates for quite some time now, but has not yet released to the public. It is likely that Apple is planning to release the iOS 5.1 update alongside the rumored iPad 3, however, it is unclear whether iOS 5.1 will address the issue with data collection.