Are iOS Developers Copying Users' Photos?

Wednesday Feb 29th 2012 by Developer.com Staff
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A loophole in Apple's procedures means app developers may have access to users' private photos.  

Earlier this month, the news broke that some iPhone and iPad apps were copying users' contact lists without the users' knowledge. Now it appears that some developers may also be copying users' photos.

The controversy centers on iOS apps that ask users for permission to access location data stored in photos and videos. If the user agrees, the developer actually gets access not only to location data but to the users' entire photo library. "The location history, as well as your photos and videos, could be uploaded to a server," explained David E. Chen, co-founded of mobile development firm Curio. "Once the data is off of the iOS device, Apple has virtually no ability to monitor or limit its use."

"Apple has a tremendous responsibility as the gatekeeper to the App Store and the apps people put on their phone to police the apps," said David Jacobs, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Apple and app makers should be making sure people understand what they are consenting to. It is pretty obvious that they aren’t doing a good enough job of that."

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