updated 03:05 pm EST, Wed February 15, 2012
Company responds to Path, other controversies
iOS apps will soon be required to ask permission before they can access a user's contact data, says Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. "Apps that collect or transmit a user's contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines," he tells 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 isn't saying when the iOS update might arrive. The statement comes in response to a growing controversy since it was discovered that the Path iOS app was uploading contact data without asking. In the wake of that scandal, companies like Yelp, Twitter, and Foursquare have also been forced to amend the ways they deal with iOS address books. Apple has, until now, been accused of not implementing proper controls on iOS developers.
Earlier today it was revealed that members of US Congress have issued a letter to Apple, asking the company to detail how it handles user data. The new change in app policy may render many concerns moot.