New Rules Will Curb iOS App Access to Contact Lists

Responding to pressure from lawmakers, Apple says that it will now require iPhone and iPad apps to obtain explicit permission from users before accessing their address books. The announcement comes in the wake of revelations that several apps, including Path and Twitter, had been uploading users’ contact data to their servers without informing those users.

Representatives Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D- N.C.) sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook noting that the scandal “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.”

Apple responded, “Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines. 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.”

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