Last month it was discovered that the popular social network Path was uploading entire address books — including email addresses, names and phone numbers — to its external servers. Path’s actions were a direct violation of Apple’s terms of agreement, and the Cupertino-based company was apparently not happy. Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek reported on Thursday that Path co-founder Dave Morin was hauled into Apple’s headquarters and grilled by CEO Tim Cook and other executives on the matter. Apple remained silent as other developers were called out for stealing users’ contact data, but the company finally issued a statement claiming that “any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.” More →
Path caused quite a stir last week when it was discovered that the app secretly transmitted users’ entire contact lists to its servers. Without giving users the option to approve the transfer or even giving an indication that this data was being sent, Path was basically stealing personal data. The company’s CEO would later apologize and a recent update makes the process more transparent, but the damage has been done and the company’s image is tarnished. Apple is known for having strict guidelines by which iOS apps are judged before being allowed in the App Store, but apparently the theft of user data falls within those guidelines. Luckily for iPhone users, one developer decided to take matters into his own hands. Read on for more. More →
Yesterday it was revealed that the popular social networking app Path was uploading entire iPhone address books to the company’s server. The data uploaded included full names, phone numbers and email addresses, and the app uploaded all this data without ever asking for permission. Dave Morin, Path’s co-founder and CEO, admitted fault on Wednesday through the company’s website and announced an update to allow users to either opt in or out of the contact collection feature. “We believe you should have control when it comes to sharing your personal information. We also believe that actions speak louder than words,” Morin said. “So, as a clear signal of our commitment to your privacy, we’ve deleted the entire collection of user uploaded contact information from our servers. Your trust matters to us and we want you to feel completely in control of your information on Path.” The company maintains that when data is transmitted to its servers, it is always sent securely through an encrypted connection and protected by industry-standard firewalls. More →
Path, the popular social network that competes with the likes of Instagram, may be uploading your iPhone’s entire address book up to its servers. Arun Thampi from mclov.in noticed the Path app’s steal data dump while trying to create a Mac OS X application for the social network during a hackathon. “Upon inspecting closer, I noticed that my entire address book (including full names, emails and phone numbers) was being sent as a plist to Path,” Thampi said, noting that Path didn’t ever ask for permission to do so. It’s unclear why Path is uploading the iPhone’s entire address book, but Thampi noticed that the social network performs the action during an API call with basic HTTP authentication. It remains unclear if Path’s Android application is also guilty of uploading personal information. Thampi has instructions on how to catch Path in the action on his blog.
UPDATE: A response from Path’s CEO follows after the break. More →
This may come as a shock considering how seriously Facebook takes your privacy, but if you’re a Facebook user with one of Facebook’s mobile applications installed on your iPhone or one of several other smartphones, you’ve been robbed. Each and every contact stored on your phone is probably now also stored on Facebook’s servers, as was re-re-rediscovered by Facebook users this past week. Whether or not people in your contact list even have Facebook accounts, their names and phone numbers are likely now in Facebook’s possession. There is probably a clause buried deep within Facebook’s terms and conditions that makes this invasion of your privacy OK on paper, but odds are still pretty good that it’s not OK with you. Complete instructions outlining how to remove all of your contacts’ phone numbers from your Facebook account can be found below. Whether or not the data will be completely wiped from Facebook’s servers is unclear, but we’ll leave that for the lawyers to figure out.
UPDATE: A Facebook spokesperson delivered the following official statement to BGR via email: “Rumors claiming that your phone contacts are visible to everyone on Facebook are false. Our Contacts list, formerly called Phonebook, has existed for a long time. The phone numbers listed there were either added directly to Facebook and shared with you by your friends, or you have previously synced your phone contacts with Facebook. Just like on your phone, only you can see these numbers.”
According to Apple’s new MobileMe transition FAQ page, users will be able to access their iCloud services from the web. Specifically, the site says:
Will I be able to access iCloud services on the web?
Yes. Web access to iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find My iPhone will be available at icloud.com this fall.
The FAQ also details some other issues that MobileMe users may be concerned about as their accounts are moved to iCloud. Apple says that photos, apps, music, and books do not count against the 5GB of free storage that comes with iCloud, and users will be able to buy more at a later time. It’s unclear how much additional space will cost, but Apple says it will explain more in the fall. As you’re likely aware, iCloud was announced during WWDC as a replacement for MobileMe. It will automatically store content across all of your devices and keep your mail, contacts, and calendar in sync across all devices. Users will simply need to sign into a new device to pull in all of their settings, photos, and more. More →
If you’re an AT&T BlackBerry user and you bought a PlayBook, you know that BlackBerry Bridge — the piece of software that wirelessly connects your BlackBerry to your PlayBook and facilitates PIM functions — is not available for AT&T BlackBerry devices. Sure, there are unofficial workarounds, but for RIM’s largest customer to not support this critical feature for RIM’s biggest product launch in ages seems strange (RIM views carriers as customers, sorry guys). Despite its earlier statement, many thought AT&T had ulterior motives in not supporting BlackBerry Bridge, but we have confirmed that the real reason is that RIM didn’t deliver BlackBerry Bridge to AT&T until just days before it launched in RIM’s BlackBerry App World. RIM didn’t hand over a final OS build for the BlackBerry PlayBook until days before launched either, and we saw that first hand with the last minute OS updates to our review unit. In spite of the short testing time — and interestingly enough — all other U.S. carriers have approved BlackBerry Bridge.
Following the close of RIM’s BlackBerry World 2011 conference, the Waterloo Ontario-based cell phone maker on Wednesday issued two video demos showcasing forthcoming BlackBerry PlayBook features we’ve been very anxious to see. Of course we already wrapped things up with a slightly more interesting exclusive, but current (and future) PlayBook owners will definitely enjoy watching RIM execs show off the tablet’s upcoming native email client as well as its Android app player. The Android player looks very smooth for pre-release software, and the email app has a great UI that should be very familiar to tablet users. We can also get a quick taste of the PlayBook’s upcoming native contacts, tasks and calendar support in the videos, which can be viewed after the break. More →
Think you can avoid having corporate email on your mobile device by buying a feature phone? Think again, as today Verizon Wireless announced an update to its feature phone email solution, Mobile Email 4.0. The downloadable application will allow users to connect their non-smartphone devices to Microsoft’s Exchange environment, leverage push email, and utilize an integrated contact list. The service will retail for $5 per month and is available to those with a data plan of at least $15 per month. The software is currently compatible with eight VZW phones, including the Samsung Zeal, LG Cosmos Touch, and Pantech Crux. Hit the read link for the full PR. More →
If you’ve ever accidentally deleted a contact from your Gmail address book, you know what pain is. The action has been, since the inception of the contacts feature, irreversible. But that all changes today. Google has announced a new “restore contacts” feature that will grant those whom have accidentally deleted a contact 30-days of clemency. As the press release reads:
We’ve added a new feature to Google Contacts that allows you to revert your contact list and undo any mistakes made up to 30 days in the past. Let’s say you accidentally deleted a bunch of contacts or wiped the contact data from your Gmail account by mistake while syncing to another device. Visit Gmail’s Contacts section, select “Restore contacts” in the “More actions” menu, and choose the time you would like to revert to.
The feature is rolling out to Gmail users as we type. More →
Today, Google announced planned improvements to the contacts manager located in its Gmail web-based email client. Google touts the Contacts feature now, “works more like the rest of Gmail” and that they incorporated a ton of user feedback. Improvements include:
- Keyboard shortcuts (go to Contacts and hit “?” for the full list)
- Sort by last name (look under “More actions”)
- Custom labels for phone numbers and other fields
- The ability to undo changes you’ve just made
- Automatic saving
- Structured name fields, so you can adjust titles, suffixes, and other name components
- A bigger, more prominent notes field
The new layout looks much cleaner and provides more functionality with fewer clicks of the mouse. Google also mentioned that they, “made it easier to get to Contacts and Tasks,” and that you’ll see links to the two in the upper left hand corner of your screen right under the Gmail logo. Hit the read link for the official Google post. Anyone seeing these updates yet? More →
Back on the 3rd we reported the release of BIS 2.8 to North American BlackBerry users, and with that came two-way contact synchronization with Google Mail — one of the new wiz-bang features. Today we’re getting reports from BIS users that now have the Google Mail contact synchronization option available to them from their carriers BIS website. While this doesn’t do anyone much good, as two-way contact syncing requires BlackBerry OS 5.0 or better, it seems to indicate the folks in Waterloo have the full court press on to finally get 5.0 out the door. Or you know, there’s like mad new BlackBerrys coming or something.
Following the fantastic response to our earlier coverage and first round of beta invitations, we’ve been keeping up with the great folks over at Sensobi and watching their app progress. To recap quickly, Sensobi is a contacts and comms management app that looks to rethink the way you approach communicate with your BlackBerry. It provides history, rankings and a host of additional functionality in an effort to break users free of the typical stale contacts support found in most mobile phones. Preliminary response to its offering has been terrific and the Sensobi team has been hard at work updating the app ever since. As such, we’re happy to report version 1.4.418 is now available. Changes include the ability to sort contacts by last communication, greatly reduced memory consumption (anemic BlackBerrys around the world just breathed a sigh of relief) and a host of additional changes and bug fixes. If you’re already in the closed beta it’s time to update your current version and let us know what you think. If you came to the party too late to get in last time, BGR has you covered. How about another 500 invites exclusively for BGR readers? Just hit the read link to get started and remember, invites are first come, first served so get in on the action first and thank us later.
Clarification: No need to post in the comment section asking for invites, folks. Just click the read link, enter your info and away you go.