Apple responds to iOS Address Book Privacy Concerns

About a week ago a big storm erupted because it was discovered that certain apps (like Path)  could access the iPhone address book, and then also send that address book details to a server to be stored. While everyone was focussing on the offending companies like Path and Twitter, the real culprits were Apple, because they did not have anything in place that informs the user that a app is accessing his or her contact details.
Finally Apple has replied to these concerns, and have decided to bring out a software update that will force the user to give permission to an app before it can access the Address Book. No word yet about when this software update will arrive, but it is safe to assume it would land with iOS 5.1 which should arrive by mid March 2012.
Here is Apple’s official statement regarding the issue:
“œApps 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. “œWe‘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.“
So the apps did not comply with Apple’s guidelines. But for a company that has such stringent vetting standards when it comes to Apps, it does seem like a massive oversight on their behalf. But al least they will now do something about it.