Apple: Apps Accessing Address Book Data Will Require Explicit User Approval

Apple has finally responded to the address book privacy issue that was raised when a Singapore based developer discovered that Path – the personal life-sharing service with more than 2 million users uploads the address book to their servers.

AllThingsD reports that Apple has informed them that apps that use address book data will have to explicit take permission from users.

“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.”  

This means that Apple will incorporate the change in iOS 5.1. Apple has seeded three beta versions of iOS 5.1 to developers of iOS Developer program so far and widely expected to release it along with the launch of iPad 3, which is expected to be unveiled on March 7th.

But based on the negative publicity and questions that the issue has raised, it is also possible that Apple could release a quick fix as a minor iOS update (iOS 5.0.2).