A week ago today, developer Arun Thampi detailed on his blog how the Path app for iOS accessed users' contact information and uploaded that data to Path's servers -- all without any explicit permission granted on the user's part. That sparked quite the firestorm, including investigations into which other apps behaved in a similar manner (quite a few, it turns out), and some responses from a number of other app makers -- Twitter, for one, has acknowledged that it does store users' contact data, but that it now plans to adjust its app to more clearly inform users of that behavior. Now, Apple itself has also responded, with spokesman Tom Neumayr telling AllThingsD that "apps that collect or transmit a user's contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines," but that it is "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." Still no word on when we can expect that software update, though.
Incidentally, this news comes on the same day that Congressmen Henry Waxman and G.K. Butterfield sent a letter to Apple over the issue, asking that it respond to a number of privacy-related questions no later than February 29th. That letter can be found in full after the break.