Path Reaches Settlement with FTC Over Address Book Privacy Concerns

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Early last year, the popular iOS app Path came under fire for uploading users' entire address books to company servers without alerting users or asking for authorization.

    The scandal resulted in Apple locking down user data in iOS 6, requiring explicit permission before apps could access a users location, contacts, calendars, photos, and reminders.

    Today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced that it has reached a settlement with Path. The agreement requires Path to establish a new privacy program, obtain independent privacy assessments for 20 years, and pay an $800,000 fine.
    The FTC alleged that Path's app was misleading and failed to offer the consumer any choice in whether his data was uploaded, and that Path violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting personal information from children without getting parents' consent.

    Path has posted a response to the settlement on its blog.

    Article Link: Path Reaches Settlement with FTC Over Address Book Privacy Concerns
  2. macrumors regular


    Nov 10, 2007
    Bristol, UK
  3. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Very nice result. Now what we would like to know whether that idiot in their marketing department who thought stealing people's complete address book was a good idea got fired.
  4. macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2007
    Didn't research the size of this company, but $800k is a ton of cash.
  5. macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2011
    Wait, so instead of making Path delete it's database of user address books, the Feds just took $800k for themselves? Am I missing something?
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Independent privacy assessments for 20 years and an $800k fine. Good thing we have the Government to protect us from ourselves!
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2010
    Didn't Path delete their database shortly after the story broke?
  8. macrumors 68030

    Sep 20, 2006
    Aussie living in Canada
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2010
    This punishment is excessive, $800,000? I can think of some crimes far worse that our government has given less for....
    I think it was a dumb thing to do but this will probably kill the company.

    Ahhh sensationalism at its finest.

  10. macrumors 68000


    Mar 13, 2007
    No, you are not missing anything. The legal system is not about "justice" or setting things right. It is often a way for the state to enrich itself at the expense of others.

    Have you heard of the phrase "Don't steal, the government hates competition"?

    Governments view the mafia as their competition in areas such as extortion, racketeering and outright theft. When the government does it, it is legal.
  11. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    I develop software for a living.

    If my boss told me to write code that uploads a user's address book to our servers, I would politely ask him to contact our legal department. If he refused or said the legal department is Ok with this, I would ask him to give me the order to write this code in writing and signed, and the written response from legal as well.

    And in my company, it would be _him_ losing his job over this, not me.

    Do thieves stay out of jail if the police recovers the money that was stolen?

    Path can consider itself well-protected from itself.
  12. macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2011
    Interesting that the companies response does not say anything about the misuse of user data, but only that a computer issue let underage users sign up. Apparently, they still don't get it. Maybe a larger fine or a class action lawsuit is in order to make them see the error of their ways.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2009
    Bath, UK.
    Where does the cash go? To the users affected?
  14. macrumors 68000


    Aug 15, 2011
    It would be nice if all the users, whose data were part of the breach, got some kind of settlement.
  15. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    People were hoping to profit somehow from all of that contact info.
    I think the fine is meant to show Path and other Mobile developers that you have to pay a heavy fine for helping yourself to this data without asking permission and havinga EULA.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2010
    I develop software for a living too. This is a bit unrelated but If I had an employee tell me something like that, I'd fire them on the spot. It's not your job to play lawyer, as you said "it would be _him_ losing his job over this, not me."

    Why are you so convinced this was done with malicious intent?

    You sound like Nancy Grace spouting off on something with no facts or knowledge of the situation. :rolleyes:
  17. macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2009
    Madison, WI
    The $.8m fine was for allowing children under 13 to sign up. It was collateral damage to the investigation.
  18. macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2012
    "$800,000 fine"? Does the users get part of that?
  19. macrumors 68000


    Jul 15, 2006
    I'm really disappointed by the quality of the reporting here.
    The $800K fine was for allowing 12 year olds the create accounts (a bug which was fixed long before the FTC got involved), but the entire post makes it sound like it's all about addressbook gate.

    The FTC conducted an investigation because of the address book scandal, but the $800K had nothing to do with that.
  20. macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2010
  21. macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2010
    Path's response is embarrassing

    Their response is a total straw man about the children under the age of 13. It doesn't ONCE mention automatically uploading mycontacts to their servers.

    EDIT: Apparently, it's Macrumors that should embarrassed, this entire story makes it sound like the problem was the contacts, when in actuality, the FTC fined them only because of underage accounts.
  22. macrumors 68040

    Jul 30, 2003
    Since government spending is controlled by a budget that is passed by parliament, any extra income should go towards paying back the debt.


    Yes, but what Path did with these underage accounts (ie, uploading the address book) likely influenced the size of the fine.
  23. macrumors 68000


    Jul 15, 2006
    That's entirely unsupported speculation. You don't even know that at the time 12 year olds were allowed to sign up, addressbooks were being uploaded. Path 1.0 and 2.0 are vastly different products.
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2010
    This makes no sense. You have no idea what you're saying.

    How about enlightening us, Nancy Grace?
  25. macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2011
    I would think that he'd fire you first.

    I think you mean: "Do thieves stay out of jail if they return the money that was stolen?"

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