Yesterday we brought you news that social networking app Path had been discovered uploading users’ mobile phone contacts. Distressingly, the app did not offer users the chance to opt out, nor did it even notify users that their information was being uploaded. In response to the blog post wherein this was pointed out, Path CEO Dave Morin said that the most recent update to Path for Android had already included an opt-out feature, and that the forthcoming iOS update to Path, version 2.0.6, would include it as well.
Today, Path 2.0.6 for iOS went live in the App Store. In addition, Path emailed me the following statement from Morin about the situation:
We are sorry.
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.
As our mission is to build the world’s first personal network, a trusted place for you to journal and share life with close friends and family, we take the storage and transmission of your personal information very very seriously.
Through the feedback we’ve received from all of you, we now understand that the way we had designed our ‘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.
We believe you should have control when it comes to sharing your personal information. We also believe that actions speak louder than words. 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.
In Path 2.0.6, released to the App Store today, you are prompted to opt in or out of sharing your phone’s contacts with our servers in order to find your friends and family on Path. If you accept and later decide you would like to revoke this access, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will promptly see to it that your contact information are removed.
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 first, our users.
We hope this update clears up any confusion. You can find Path 2.0.6 in the App Store here:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/path/id403639508?mt=8
The statement was also posted on Path’s blog.
What do you think? Does the update make amends for Path’s misstep? Sound off in the comments.