Adventures As Me

Address this!

Written 20 Feb 2012

This past week saw some news items regarding iOS applications that scan your address book. Lifehacker has a brief writeup on an app that alerts you when the scanning happens. Trouble is, as is pointed out in the comments, this is going to generate too many false positives. Connectedness, or social networking, is trumpeted every where. Compare your game scores with your friends. Invitie your friends to join you in <random activity>. As more an more apps add this kind of support, more and more will be scanning your address book. An app that alerts you to this activity is, IMHO, the wrong approach. Application developers should be required to:

  1. Disclose they want to access your address book;
  2. Prompt you for permission, at least the first time;
  3. Provide a succinct explanation of:
    1. What the data is used for
    2. What data they actually need
    3. Whether the data stays on your device or not

Without those types of requirements being enforced by the market vendor we'lll have a similar landscape as the antivirus scene, where the software can only know about things after the fact.

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