On Path: What Were You Expecting?

Have you read any of the bs that’s bubbled up from the “Path is stealing your address book” debacle? It’s unbelievable. To summarize; Path is a social networking app for the iPhone that bills itself as more personal than facebook and the like. When signing up, it uploaded the users address book to it’s servers in order to recommend friends to them. Path didn’t ask, and now there’s an uproar in the bored tech blogs. This takes us to the most recent events. On February 8th Path apologized. They said sorry. They say they are going to delete all of the address books and ask next time. I’m happy with that response, are you happy? Of course not. This is all Apple’s fault. They built the platform for these scoundrels to steel your information, they should do something to fix it.

Wait, what? This is somehow the phone manufacturers fault? This is the part I really don’t understand. All the fingers get pointed to the phone maker after the developer apologies citing industry standard.Yesterday Apple announced that they will indeed add a permissions popup when accessing the phones address book. So now, when I install the facebook, or Path, app for the first time I’m going to have to click though ten popups asking for permission to view my location, contacts, images, you name it.

So here we are. We’ve demanded new sensors be added to these little devices in our pocket for years. We’ve put every little bit of sensitive information about our lives into them and we’ve created platforms to share information with our old high school buddies anywhere, anytime. But we haven’t figured out that all those sensors and data means nothing is sacred anymore. If you put it on your phone, you’ve essentially given an advertiser all the info it needs to know what you want, before you want it. This is the tradeoff we all make in the name of social and convenience. It sucks, but it’s the world we live in.

Wow that sounds depressing, but there is one other option. Take responsibility for your security and information. If a company takes your data and you don’t like it, don’t use it! Simple as that. These are services after all. There are plenty out there. If we all did this, companies will be more inclined to self regulate and make sure things like this wouldn’t happen in the future. Facebook has been stealing user data since it’s inception and people hardly ever make a fuss about it. Your data is yours, after all.