Twitter uploads iPhone’s address book to its server

Fri 17 February 2012 13:50, Tamara Yadvichuk

Twitter uploads iPhone’s address book to its server

Last week’s online news burst with alarming messages concerning privacy violations of iPhone and Android users. After it had been discovered that Path app quietly uploads its users’ entire address book to its server in order to let them connect to friends, a few other social networking apps with similar practices came under fire, Twitter being the largest.

When users of Twitter mobile app tap ‘Find friends’ button, it uploads all their contacts’ emails and phone numbers to Twitter’s server without explicitly notifying the users. For iPhone owners, for example, the feature offers to ‘Scan you contacts for people you already know on Twitter’ – and ‘scan’ is hardly the same as ‘grant accesses’. According to Twitter’s current privacy policy, they can keep your log data (automatically recorded information produced by the use of Twitter services) up to 18 months.

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Twitter quickly reacted to the news and promised to update their app to clarify what happens with the user’s data, LA Times report. Instead of ‘Scan your contacts’ the app will offer to “Upload your contacts” and “Import your contacts” on iPhone and Android phones respectively.

There is no evidence that Twitter has passed the data to other companies or used it in any unlawful way – so the consequences of privacy violations for the users and their contacts seem hypothetical so far. However, not everyone may be as honest as Twitter. So beware of Friend Finders, smartphone owners – at least make sure you know with whom you are sharing your contacts!


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