The age of innocence for smartphone apps seems to be coming to a crashing halt. Now that recent reports have shown that the transmitting of users phone books is rampant, it has made this author take pause when downloading apps at will.
Though mobile app security has always been picked apart for security holes, recent reports that users’ entire address books are being transmitted have upped the ante in this war.
We find that big names such as Twitter and Foursquare, along with smaller names such as Hipster and Foodspotting are all guilty.
Lawsuits have now been filed and the big players are all lining up with their lawyers. Apple, Google, Facebook, and all of the other big names in the app market are included for illegal data collection.
Other accusations are that mobile apps don’t only download the users’ phone books, but also photos. Whereas users usually ignore generic “security risks” for social media sites and social apps, the knowledge that private photos could be transmitted without permission is enough to fire up even the most severe sheep in our society.
The recent apology by social network Path CEO Dave Morin could be the tip of the iceberg when Congress fleshes out all of the details in these data collection practices. At least he admitted wrongdoing. The big players have lawyered up and won’t talk about it. Their silence speaks volumes.
Until all of this is sorted out, we suggest you are extremely selective in the apps you download.