(Though some would ask why just Apple?)
Not necessarily defending Apple so much as just pointing out that these articles are generally written by professional panty-bunchers, and Apple just happens to be the most popular show in town and this the easiest (and laziest?) target. The current thing is unlikely to be much of an issue for very long, if it ever really was (I speak in terms of actual impact rather than handwavey But What Ifs).
pretty much any app you install on your computer can do the same thing
Mobile phones were just a bad idea.
I was all prepared to be holier-than-thou in this thread since permissions on Android are explicit but out of curiosity I just installed an app called Permission Explorer and found that 70 apps on my phone have permission to read the contacts database. Some of these are obvious like Gmail or Dialer but why does Gingerbread Keyboard or Zipcar or god help me V CAST Music need to see my contacts?
Except the perspective the developers are exhibiting here ("People aren't going to mind if we grab the whole contents of their address book") isn't exactly new to the smartphone field, as it wasn't that long ago that social networking services were asking for your (e.g.) Gmail username and password to read your address book to search for your friends, which end-result-wise seems very similar, but holy hell they want my account credentials?
I don't remember any significant uproar over that behaviour, though it seems to have quietly gone away now that there are other authentication methods and APIs.
“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD. “We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”
Android user here as well. While I think it's nice to get the alert when you install an application, I don't think it goes far enough. There's no reason I shouldn't be able to un-check "access contacts" when installing something that I don't think should access it.
Its not strange. The developer knows they are doing nothing nefarious with the data, so feel no guilt in asking for it. They fact you don't know they are doing nothing nefarious with it is not necessarily at the top of their mind; they are honest* and aren't PR people.
(*) I'm not saying all developers are honest, I'm just saying the honest ones do things which look a little odd to paranoid outsiders. If you put yourself in the place of the honest developer instead of a suspicious outsider, it looks very different.
I object to the general (or at least common) tone and hyperbole of malicious intent that people cast on the companies and developers involved here. Yes, some companies and developers are bastards, but most have just made an error in transparency and/or data retention.
The open source fanatics (which I am) tend to forget that Android is not Linux. It's merely a more hackable OS backed by a company every bit as amoral as Microsoft or Apple or whoever.
In other news Apple stock price hits$505.00.
In fact, I don't even know what Eclipse and Xcode have to do with what I said, since I didn't bring it up, and the linked article didn't mention it, either. I thought I was pretty clearly talking about the security model that was discussed in the piece. Where does MW bring up Eclipse?
I can go and buy my Playstation software from where ever the hell I want, I'm not limited to Sonytm stores.
You have to get your development kit and development console from Sony. If you're a developer, you have to go through Sony. You have no choice in the matter. Sony has 100 percent ownership of the platform, from the perspective of a game developer writing for Sony gear.
They're "closing the loophole" the same way Android does: By making you click a "This app accesses your address book" before you use the app.
That does nothing to inform users of anything, and it doesn't "close a loophole" in any way. It doesn't tell you what happens when that access occurs, or what the app does with your data afterwards.
Part of the problem with this is that people don't understand WHY apps need the things they need. Witness, for example, how many people look at the requirements for a new app (say, a podcast player) and say, "WHY THE HELL DOES THIS NEED ACCESS TO MY PHONE CALLS? WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? THIS IS MALWARE!!!11!!!!"
If you're a desktop application developer, this is all your fault. You have been ignoring or fighting against measures to increase security and stability and interoperability, and have made PC software a laughingstock, a sick joke consumers aren't willing to laugh along with anymore.
OS/X has nothing, zero, zip to do with the the topic of mobile phone apps. If you want iOS software, you DO have to get it from Apple.
If Location Services is on, your device will periodically send the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to augment the crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations.
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