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From: Sr K2/14/2012 12:37:52 AM
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The WSJ Tuesday has an article about the SNL spoof on Verizon Wireless advertising and marketing. VZW is not too pleased.

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From: Sr K2/14/2012 1:01:53 AM
   of 29479
 
SNL skit Feb 11, 2012.

nbc.com 

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From: sylvester802/14/2012 11:03:52 AM
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AMAZING: Scalado Remove Cleverly Gets Rid of Unwanted Photo Subjects [MUST SEE Video - click link]
phandroid.com 
by Quentyn Kennemer on February 14th, 2012 at 9:56 am
Have you ever taken a photo in front of a landmark, or just anywhere, and wished you didn’t have so many people in the background? Well, it looks like some of you may be getting some of that functionality in your camera software later this year. Scalado has announced Scalado Remove, a technology that uses intelligent stitching to help you clean up a shot after it’s been taken.

Once you take the photo, you have to keep the camera still on that subject. Once you do that, all you need to do is touch each other moving subject in your photo that you don’t want and voila. It won’t get rid of anything stationary, unfortunately.

Before you get your hopes up, let me just mention that this isn’t an app. It’s a technology that Scalado will be providing to their OEM partners which include Sony Ericsson, Motorola, HTC and more. This technology may or may not pop up in the phones you want to buy in 2012 but we’ll at least get to see it all showcased live at Mobile World Congress. Anyone excited for something like this?

Press ReleaseScalado excitedly introduce the world’s first object removal innovation in a mobile deviceFeb 14, 2012 04:15 EST


"Remove" automatically deletes unwanted details in captured imaging

Scalado, a world-leading provider of high-performance imaging technologies, applications and services for the mobile industry, have today announced the release of a new revolutionizing product named Remove. Remove is a technology that automatically highlights and removes any unwanted object from a captured photo. It is the world’s first Object removal software to be released on a mobile device.

Remove solves common photographic problems with unwanted objects in captured images, such as people getting i
n the way of our camera shot. Remove detects and selects the unwanted objects which simply can be removed automatically or by touching the selections on the screen or after capturing the image.

“After Zero Shutter Lag, Burst, and Rewind Scalado continue leading and changing the capturing landscape by bringing in new unique and needed capturing innovations",says Fadi Abbas, CMO/VP BizDev and Co-founder of Scalado, -“What differentiate us is the combination of customers who believe in our superiority, leading industry partners and continuous innovations"

Last year Scalado released several innovations, e.g. the Rewind technology which allows the users to capture perfect group shots by automatically selecting the best shots in a burst and merging them into one perfect image. Rewind is already shipping in millions of mobile phones..

“Our team has been working hard to maintain its leading innovation position in the camera capturing field",says Sami Niemi, CTO and Co-founder of Scalado, -“Remove shows that our technologies are setting the guidelines for the whole market".

Scalado will premiere showcase Remove, the first of many new innovations planned this year, at the 2012 Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, February 27th to March 1st.

Founded in 2000, Scalado™ is a world leader in the mobile imaging industry, thanks to a long history of developing innovative platform-independent imaging solutions. Based on Scalado’s unique Random Access JPEG and more than 50 patent and patent pending technologies, these innovations are currently being used by the world’s leading global telecom and platform players in over 1 billion devices to date, a figure that’s growing with over 500 million devices each year.

Scalado™ is headquartered in Lund, Sweden, and has regional commercial and development facilities in USA, Korea, China (mainland), Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. For any inquiries, please visit www.scalado.com

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From: sylvester802/14/2012 11:26:31 AM
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Huawei Reveals Quad-Core Smartphone and MediaPad 10 To Be Unveiled At MWC 2012
Huawei Reveals Quad-Core Smartphone and MediaPad 10 To Be Unveiled At MWC 2012
by Chris Chavez on February 13th, 2012 at 8:59 pm


Huawei, a manufacturer normally known for their budget to low-end Android handsets, is definitely coming out swinging in 2012. At this year’s CES, we’ve already seen, and gotten our hands-on with the Huawei Ascend P1 S. With a speedy dual-core TI 1.5GHz OMAP processor and stock Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, we were more than impressed with the latest handset to acquire the title of ” world’s slimmest smartphone.”

If having the thinnest smartphone on the planet wasn’t enough to get your Android juices flowing (that sounds dirty), I wonder if something with a bit more power could entice you? Perhaps something along the lines of quad-cores?

Well, it appears that’s exactly what Huawei has on the menu for this year’s Mobile World Congress on February 26th. A press invite is being sent out to media and mentions Huawei’s “most powerful smartphone yet.” Further more, a Japanese blog is reporting that the device will be called the Huawei Ascend D Q. If the “S” in the Ascend P1 S stood for “slim,” we could only imagine the “Q” in this title standing for “quad-core.”



Also revealed was Huawei’s upcoming MediaPad 10, a 1o-inch version of their 7-inch MediaPad tablet that recently launched on T-Mobile. If all goes well, we expect to give you guys a full hands on during MWC in a 2 more weeks.

[ Ameblo | Via UnwiredView]

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From: zax2/14/2012 11:14:41 PM
   of 29479
 
February 14, 2012, 8:23 PM HKT
Chinese Firm Steps Up Attack on Apple in iPad Trademark Spat

blogs.wsj.com 

Associated Press

The company that registered the “iPad” trademark in China doesn’t just want to keep Apple from selling the popular tablet device inside China. Now it wants to keep Apple from shipping iPads across China’s borders as well.

Proview Technology (Shenzhen) has filed a request with Chinese Customs to block the import and export of the iPads on trademark grounds, Yang Rongshan, the company’s CEO, told China Real Time on Tuesday, the latest salvo in a legal battle that few saw coming.

China’s Customs Administration could not be reached for comment.

Proview’s announcement of the request comes a day after news that officials in the northern Chinese city of Shijiazhuang had confiscated iPads from local Apple resellers, and roughly a week after Proview (Shenzhen), an affiliate of Hong Kong-based Proview International Holdings Ltd., filed in a Shanghai court to stop Apple from using the iPad name in mainland China.

Proview (Shenzhen) registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001 and says it uses the name on some products.

“We bought Proview’s world-wide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago,” Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said on Tuesday. “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China.”

Proview’s move recalls a complaint filed by Taiwan’s HTC Corp at the U.S. International Trade Commission in August last year that sought to block imports of Apple iPhones, iPads and iMac computers on grounds that Apple had infringed on HTC patents related to wireless technology.

But Esther Lim, managing partner of the Shanghai office of law firm Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner, said she wasn’t aware of an equivalent mechanism to allow for blocking of imports or exports in China.

“It’s fairly difficult to predict what will happen,” Ms. Lim said. If Proview were to succeed in blocking shipments of iPads “that would be a significant wake-up call to businesses operating in China, particularly multinationals.”

Apple sold 15.43 million iPads world-wide in the fourth quarter of 2011, more than double what it sold a year earlier, the company said in January. The company has repeatedly identified China as one of its most important markets for growth.

– Josh Chin. Follow him on Twitter @joshchin

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From: sylvester802/15/2012 7:38:52 AM
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Download bots were the “well-known bad little secret” of the iOS app ecosystem
Feb 14th, 2012
insidemobileapps.com 

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From: sylvester802/15/2012 8:33:30 AM
   of 29479
 
BREAKING...The iPhone security model is broken ... can it be fixed?
By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes | February 13, 2012, 4:51am PST
Summary: User data is the new gold rush, and it’s so easy to find and mine.
zdnet.com 

I like my iPhone. A lot. But I’ve not gotten to the point where I feel that the security model that Apple chose to implement in iOS is broken, and it’s hard to see how it can be fixed in any useful or meaningful way.

How is the security model broken? Well, it’s broken because the apps you install onto your iDevices are capable of accessing the user’s address book and sending that data back to the company servers without you knowing that it’s going on. Mobile social network Path was caught doing just that, and I’m sure that it’s not the only one that’s been up to this trick. User data is the new gold rush, and it’s so easy to find and mine.

Note: Mac OS X offers developers easy access to the address book, and Apple hasn’t done anything about this since the issue surfaced in 2006.

Now I’m going to assume for a moment that there are legitimate reasons for access user’s address books and copying them, but what cannot be justified is doing this without user consent (and by consent I don’t mean a small snippet of legalese buried in a ocean of legalese). Harvesting data without clearly informing the user of what’s going to be done and what will happen to that data is at best a very bad business practice, and at worse it’s malware-like behavior and a massive breach of trust.

So what should happen? Well, I have several ideas, but I must admit that I’m not in love any of them.

Apple could ban apps that access the address book. This would be easy to do as Apple controls what APIs developers can use, and checks for developers breaking the rules. While Apple could do this easily, but it’s not an ideal situation because some apps could have legitimate reasons for accessing this data.Apple could restrict how much data apps can access. Problem with this is that it doesn’t give users much control. It’s too blackbox and too opaque.Apple could put policies in place to force apps to use encryption when transmitting the data, but personally I’m more concerned about what happens to that data after transmission than during transmission.Apple could put a mechanism in place similar to that for Locations Services where apps would have to ask permission and users could revoke permission from the app later. Of all the options this seems like he best, but it does have a danger in that it could eventually mean that iOS users are faced with endless dialog boxes and a torrent of questions each time they install apps. This sort of security hasn’t worked on any platform previously, and I’m not convinced that it would work on iOS.As I said, none of these solutions are ideal, but in light of recent developments, it’s clear that Apple can’t just allow apps to have unfettered access to data stored on iOS devices. We’re already sliding down a very slippery slope.

The best option in my opinion is to put the users in charge, but I see there being a giant gulf between giving the users choice, and the users making an informed choice. On platforms like Windows (and even on Mac) throwing endless dialog boxes at users quickly creates a fatigue where people don’t really read (or even pay attention to) the information being put in front of them. Security turns from being a useful feature into something that’s just standing between them and doing what they want.

These aren’t new problems, but they’re exaggerated by post-PC devices. In the PC world there’s a huge amount of diversity when it comes to software. People could have their contacts in one (or many) of dozens of places (Outlook, Thunderbird, in the cloud, in a Notepad file …), but on a device like the iPhone there’s one place … the Contacts app. Also, as our devices become more personal, they will contain more and more personal data (names, emails addresses, phone numbers, addresses, and so on).

All this makes the data easy pickings … and this data is valuable stuff, so there are people who will grab it.

The move to the post-PC world is putting out personal data at risk, and no one has come up with a solution that protects us from the bad guys.

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From: sylvester802/15/2012 8:34:51 AM
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Unauthorized iPhone And iPad Apps Leak Private Data Less Often Than Approved Ones
2/14/2012 @ 12:37PM |2,555 views
forbes.com 

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From: sylvester802/15/2012 8:40:00 AM
   of 29479
 
Major security breach hit iPhone/iPad
Your iOS address book is mine: Many iPhone apps take your data
venturebeat.com 
February 14, 2012 4:00 PM
Jennifer Van Grove
6 Comments

Path got caught red-handed uploading users’ address books to its servers and had to apologize. But the relatively obscure journaling app is not alone. In fact, Path was crucified for a practice that has become an unspoken industry standard.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Foodspotting, Yelp, and Gowalla are among a smattering of iOS applications that have been sending the actual names, email addresses and/or phone numbers from your device’s internal address book to their servers, VentureBeat has learned. Several do so without first asking permission, and Instagram and Foursquare only added permissions prompts after the Path flare-up.

Some of these companies deny storing the personal data, as Path was doing, but the transmission alone makes the private data susceptible to would-be intercepters.

Perhaps most concerning, however, is that these app makers could mask the real names, phone numbers, and email addresses during the transmission process, protecting your privacy in the process, but choose not to.

VentureBeat, employing a traffic-monitoring utility called mitmproxy to observe the data flowing between apps and the internet, discovered that many iOS applications upload personally-identifiable information to their servers.

Path steps on a privacy landmine

Last week, Path iPhone app users were surprised (and quite disgruntled) to learn that the innards of their address books — contacts’ email addresses and phone numbers — had been uploaded to and stored on Path’s servers. After a public outcry, Path immediately amended its practice to request user permission, and deleted its records.

But the larger issue of how iOS application makers access, transmit, and store address book data from iOS devices is one that refuses to be swept under the rug. And rightfully so. This is your address book we’re talking about, arguably the most private of all entities. It’s the digital repository of the personal and professional relationships you’ve amassed in your lifetime, and a simple click of a button could expose those relationships to strangers with malicious intents. Also, as many have pointed out, much of the data in your address book belongs to other people (their cell phone numbers, for instance), and has been entrusted to you with the understanding that you will keep it private.

These same relationships are the building blocks for any successful social application. For years, developers have understood that if they give you an easy way to find your friends already using their applications, then you won’t have such a lonely experience and you might continue to use their apps. So, many of the applications you know, love, and use on a daily basis have a “find friends” feature that scans your address book to find your contacts already using their services.

That act in and of itself is a boon to your overall experience, but many developers are employing a shortcut that puts your private contact data at risk.

In order to find connections, app makers are going into your address book, gathering up either phone numbers or email addresses (or both) and uploading that data in its original state. In the best cases, they use an encrypted HTTPS connection to upload the data to their servers, but that’s not a given. Their servers then use the address book data to determine contact matches. In many cases, the data is discarded immediately thereafter.

Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram Foodspotting, Yelp, and Gowalla all upload either your contacts’ phone numbers or email addresses to their servers for matching purposes. Some of these applications perform this action without first requesting permission or informing you how they long they plan to store this data. Foodspotting is the worst of the bunch, as it appears to transmit your data over an unencrypted HTTP connection (in plain text), making it even easier for mischievous parties to intercept.

A Foodspotting spokesperson said the company does not store the data it collects. “With the many concerns we’ve read about in recent press blogs, we’ve added additional security measures that will be out with our next update,” the rep said.


Unencrypted address book data. Data blurred out at the bottom is a list of email addresses in plain text.


Facebook does upload your address book and stores your contacts, but it is also forthcoming about its process. The company has always employed a permissions flow for the “Find Friends” feature that prompts the application user with this message: “Facebook will store imported contacts on your behalf and may use them to generate friend suggestions for you and others.”

Twitter’s position is a bit more ambiguous. “We do not automatically upload contacts,” a Twitter representative explained to VentureBeat. But the “Find Friends” feature, located in the Discover tab of the iOS application, does not require explicit permission for access to the address book, even though it does upload address book data. On the web, Twitter informs its members that it stores contacts for up to 18 months, and may use contact information to make “Who To Follow” suggestions.

Popular photo-sharing app Instagram uploads contact data as well (first names, last names, email addresses, and phone numbers when available, as depicted in the mitmproxy screenshot above), but the app makers recently introduced a permission screen that now reads, “In order to find your friends, we need to send address book information to Instagram’s servers using a secure connection,” and now requires the user to click “allow” to continue.

Foursquare has just followed suit with an update to its iOS app Tuesday (pictured right). Foursquare’s permissions dialog is uniquely up-front about what it’s actually doing.

“We’ve always been doing things the secure way — we only access the user’s address book when the user taps on the ‘Find via address book.’ That is, we only access the address book with an explicit user action,” Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said. “The extra dialogue is simply good practice so users are 100 percent sure they understand what’s going on — it’s a step to ensure transparency that we imposed on ourselves.”

Yelp also claims that it does not store the data and requests user permission when accessing the address book. “When a repeat user launches the Yelp application, we provide a prompt for them to give their explicit permission to Find Friends via their Contact list,” a Yelp rep said. However, when VentureBeat tested this feature, we didn’t get a prompt.

When we pointed this out, the Yelp representative said that the prompt only appears the first time you launch the application. They then added, ”To provide redundant disclosure, our latest app update, which is pending approval by Apple, provides a persistent permission request each time you seek to utilize the Find Friends feature beyond just the first time it is introduced.”

The representative also said, “No emails are sent to anyone in their address book without explicit authorization, we don’t expose this data to marketers, and we do not store your contacts. If the user denies permission, the feature is bypassed and their Contacts are not accessed.”

Are app makers taking unnecessary risks?Without access to their servers, we can’t determine if some of these applications are storing contacts without disclosing the practice, as Path was doing. That would be the most egregious of offenses because it makes your contacts the property of an unapproved third-party. It’s also a security risk: Should the company’s database ever get hacked, that information would become the hackers’ property as well. Most companies claim not to do this.

“We don’t store address book information and never have,” a Foursquare representative told VentureBeat. “When a person searches for friends on Foursquare, we transmit the address book information over a secure connection and do not store it beyond that point.”

All the applications named, however, are choosing to take a shortcut that could put your data at risk. In an interview with VentureBeat, application maker Martin May, co-founder of food-focused startup Forkly and previously with location-based app Brightkite, explained that developers should avoid sending the private data at all costs. Sending encrypted data, he said, only protects the user’s data until it gets to the company’s server, where it is decrypted. At that point, May explained, we have to trust that each company is only using this sensitive data in honorable ways, but they could theoretically do with it as they please.

More than three years ago, May and fellow co-founder Brady Becker faced the “Find Friends” issue but found a better way to make matches without transmitting actual address book data.

“When we were discussing the implementation, the first iteration inevitably lead to the same strategy that Path is using: upload the user’s address book information to our servers so we can do the matching. But it didn’t feel right,” May wrote in a recent blog post. “It didn’t take very long before we realized that we didn’t actually need the actual phone numbers and email addresses of people to match them; we just needed their hashes.”

The hash system, explained in May’s post, allowed the company to compare hashes, rather than the full text of phone numbers and email addresses. That way, it could make matches without needing to “see” the actual names, numbers, or email address of members’ contacts. “This enabled us to implement the same ‘Find Friends’ functionality that so many apps nowadays use without compromising the privacy of the address book,” May wrote.

“It’s pretty easy to replicate,” May told Venturebeat of the system. “It’s not very complicated.”

iOS developer Matt Gemmell sides with May on the topic of hashing. “Why are you uploading the actual address book data, rather than (say) generating hashes of the user’s email addresses locally, then uploading just those hashes?,” Gemmell asked Path founder Dave Morin in a comment posted to the original blog post that exposed the company’s prior bad acts. “You’d be able to do friend-finding that way, and similarly if you uploaded hashes of all email addresses in the user’s address book, you’d be able to do your notifications of when a friend joins. At no point would your servers ever need to see the actual email addresses or phone numbers from our contacts.”

Gemmell followed up a few days later with his own post detailing the hashing method and explained that applications users should not have to sacrifice privacy for cool social features.

Apple provides no protectionWhy aren’t more app makers employing the hash-matching approach or similar techniques? The answer, some say, is that Apple allows the practice of uploading full address books to continue. Apple does not require app makers to request permission before accessing a user’s address book, nor does the company regulate contact data transmission and storage.

User interface designer Dustin Curtis puts the blame squarely on Apple’s shoulders. “I fully believe this issue is a failure of Apple and a breach of trust by Apple, not by app developers,” Curtis wrote last week in a widely circulated blog post entitled “ Stealing Your Address Book.”

“There is a huge section of the Settings app dedicated to giving people fine control over which apps have access to location information,” Curtis detailed. “That Apple provides no protections on the Address Book is, at best, perplexing.”

Instapaper creator Marco Arment concurs. “I felt like iOS had given me far too much access to Address Book without forcing a user prompt. It felt a bit dirty,” Arment wrote in a post detailing how Instapaper uses address book data. (Instapaper sends encrypted email addresses to its servers, with permission, but does not store them.) “Apple can, and should, assure users that no app can read their contact data without their knowledge and explicit permission.”

Apple, Arment argued, should change its API to require permission. Apple did not respond to a request for a comment.

For now though, the more pressing questions seem to be: How vulnerable is our private data and how concerned should we be?

May believes that most of the applications that access your address book have good intentions. Still, there have been instances of bad egg applications, solely designed to steal your contacts, making it into the App Store, only to be removed after someone cries foul.

Considering that the practice of uploading address book data is so widespread, the answers to those questions are unknown, and the uncertainty is enough to make even the most trusting of people paranoid.

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From: sylvester802/15/2012 8:41:49 AM
   of 29479
 
Your iPhone’s Privacy Sucks Because of Apple—and Even Steve Jobs Agrees
BY JESUS DIAZ
FEB 15, 2012 2:27 AM
gizmodo.com 

Someone found out that Path—and most probably other apps—was stealing your contacts' information from your iPhone and iPad without telling you about it. This happened because of Path's greediness, but also because Apple is not protecting your privacy as it should.

And all that sucks, even according to what Steve Jobs himself says in this video.

Your iPhone's privacy problemTo understand the unintended irony of Jobs' words, you need to fully understand the huge privacy problem that is happening right now in your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It goes like this: Path and other apps—we don't know which—steal your contacts' information into their corporate servers without telling you about it. These apps use an address book service that Apple provides within iOS, which is similar to the geographic location service also present in the operating system that powers all the iDevices.

The difference is that the iPhone's GPS service requires you to actively approve that the app can access it. Apple's operating system asks you for permission every time an application wants to know for your location, not the app itself. This is a barrier that the app can't bypass. The security system is designed in this way so the app—which could be anything from a game to your typical free flashlight app—can't spy on you without you noticing it.

This works perfectly fine.

The problem is that the address book service doesn't use the same mechanism. It's free for the taking. This is where the privacy clusterfuck ensues. Some app developers—like Path did—are taking advantage of this weakness. The fact is that, at this point, any app can access your address book and steal all your contacts. Just like that. We don't know which apps may be doing this right now. That is a scary thought and Apple should have thought about it.

"Ask them every time"The irony comes when you realize that Steve Jobs thought this was absolutely wrong too. In fact, you can tell that he believes that what Apple's "colleagues in the valley" were doing—companies like Google or Facebook—was despicable. He explains this in full detail in this video, recorded at the D8 Conference in 2010.

He first attacks Silicon Valley companies for, according to him, not taking privacy as seriously as Apple does. Then he details what they are doing to prevent any privacy breaches. It's a compelling description, like always.

Jobs even says that, before accepting apps in the app store, Apple analyzes them so it can detect if they want to steal your contact information data and "suck it up to the cloud." This is precisely what Path did. If what he said is true, Apple obviously failed to detect it in Path's case. He also assures the audience that Apple detected some malicious apps and rejected them. That's one of the "advantages of the curated Apple store", he claims. One that, as the Path case has demonstrated, is either not true or not as effective as it should be.

Here is the transcript of the video above, which shows how he replied when Mossberg asked if privacy looks that different in Silicon Valley than in the rest of America:

0:53 No, Silicon Valley is not monolithic. We always have had a different view on privacy than some of our colleagues in the Valley. We take privacy extremely seriously.

1:22 As an example we worry a lot about location in phones. And we worry that some 14-year-old is gonna get stalked and something terrible is gonna happen because [of] our phone... so, as an example, before any app can get location data, we don't make it a rule that they have to put up a panel and ask because they may not follow that rule. They call our location services and we put up the panel saying "this app wants to use your location data, is that ok with you?" Every time they want to use it.

And we do a lot of things like that to ensure that people understand what these apps are doing.

2:02 That's one of the reasons we have the curated app store. We have rejected at lot of apps that wanna take a lot of your personal data and suck it up into the cloud.

So... a lot of people in the Valley think that we are really old fashioned?

[...]

Privacy means people know what they are signing up for. In plain English. And repeteadly. That's what it means.

I'm an optimist. I believe people are smart and some people want to share more people than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking if they get tired of you asking. Let them know precisely what you are going to do with their data.

That's what we think.

Basically, Steve Jobs thinks that anyone who doesn't follow this privacy model—like Path now or Google and Facebook during 2010—sucks. He was completely right.

That's why he must be turning in his grave now, learning how he left this world without taking care of the address book in the iPhone—making sure that it worked exactly the same as it does in the GPS service, with an alert controlled by the operating system and the users. Never the developers.

Because it seems that some developers, as demonstrated by Path, don't give a rat's ass about Jobs' idea of what privacy and sharing personal data should be. And perhaps some people at Apple don't give a rat's ass either. Otherwise I can't understand why this has happened.

What is clear now is that Apple should have made the access to your contacts information as restricted as to the user's geolocation data. After this, I bet they will. Soon, I hope. [ Noted via Dave Winer]

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