Blogger Dustin Curtis writes about iOS applications secretly uploading and storing copies of your address book on their servers:
I did a quick survey of 15 developers of popular iOS apps, and 13 of them told me they have a contacts database with millons of records. One company’s database has Mark Zuckerberg’s cell phone number, Larry Ellison’s home phone number and Bill Gates’ cell phone number. This data is not meant to be public, and people have an expectation of privacy with respect to their contacts.
I’m amazed Apple has allowed this problem to go unchecked for so long. The problems discussed pre-date the release of iOS 4.3. The Wall Street Journal ran a story on this kind of thing back in December, 2010.
App developers should be forced to request user permission before they gain unrestricted access to information such as names, addresses and phone numbers of friends and work colleagues. It surely wouldn’t be very difficult to implement this requirement in the operating system. For a company that claims proudly to be focused on protecting users privacy, Apple has done a pretty piss poor job of it in this instance.