Dustin Curtis is weighing in on the Address Book issue which hit Path yesterday:

[…] fledgling app developers do everything they can to increase their chances. Because Apple provides extremely easy access to address book data, the pro — that is, using the data to improve user experience, increase virality and growth, etc. — outweighs the con. To stay on equal footing, larger apps, like Yelp, Facebook, and Foursquare, have to follow along.

I fully believe this issue is a failure of Apple and a breach of trust by Apple, not by app developers. The expectation of Address Book privacy is obvious[.]

Are you kidding me?

Just because Apple doesn’t expressly forbid, by technical means or App Store policy, that this data should not be used, it’s a free-for-all? I don’t buy this “If everybody else is doing it, we should as well do it also.” That’s exactly the lameness that is the “It’s current industry standard”–defense. That doesn’t count.

Yes, Apple should have restricted access to this data. They did not, and that’s bad. This does not, however, absolve any app developer that uses this.

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.

Shouldn’t that be worrying?

Meanwhile, Path announced they deleted all harvested contact information.