Path CEO apologises over iPhone address book debacle

9 Feb 2012

The CEO of live journal app Path has apologised over the revelation that the app takes all a user’s address book information from their iPhone and uploads it to its servers without permission and has released a new update, Path 2.0.6. Dave Morin says Path has deleted the entire collection of user uploaded contact information from its servers.

It emerged in recent days that the data went straight from smartphones to Path’s servers after a software developer stumbled across a line of code.

Since then there has been uproar over the privacy implications and Path’s failure to ask for users’ permission.

“We are sorry,” Morin wrote on Path’s blog. “We made a mistake. Over the last couple of days, users brought to light an issue concerning how we handle your personal information on Path, specifically, the transmission and storage of your phone contacts.”

He said Path’s mission is to build the world’s first personal network for close friends and family and admitted the way the company designed its ‘Add Friends’ feature was wrong.

“We are deeply sorry if you were uncomfortable with how our application used your phone contacts.

“In the interest of complete transparency, we want to clarify that the use of this information is limited to improving the quality of friend suggestions when you use the ‘Add Friends’ feature and to notify you when one of your contacts joins Path – nothing else. We always transmit this and any other information you share on Path to our servers over an encrypted connection. It is also stored securely on our servers using industry-standard firewall technology.”

Path deletes user contact info from its servers

Morin said that actions speak louder than words and to show his sincerity, Path has deleted the entire collection of user uploaded contact information from its servers.

In Path 2.0.6, released to the App Store today, users are prompted to opt in or out of sharing their phone’s contacts with Path’s servers in order to find their friends and family on Path. Users can accept or decide later to revoke this.

“We care deeply about your privacy and about creating a trusted place for you to share life with your close friends and family. As we continue to expand and grow, we will make some mistakes along the way. We commit to you that we will continue to be transparent and always serve you, our users, first,” Morin said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years