Irrationally Paranoid? AdiOS Shows Which Apps Access Your Address Book

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Does Address-gate have you terrified that your mobile apps are secretly slurping up your address book? AdiOS is a free new Mac program that in seconds detects which of your iOS apps have the ability to access your phone numbers and email contacts. AdiOS doesn’t indicate if or how the apps are transmitting your address book, but you should still delete any that access it.

No. That was a joke. This has all gotten ridiculous.

Heaven forbid your apps help connect you with friends. That’s what many of the apps AdiOS sniffs out use your address book for. I ran the program, which was developed by security software company Veracode, and found Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Skype, and Yelp were accessing all of my contacts. Some transmit that data without authorization, some ask permission, others use it locally, The Next Web reports.

Yes, I’d prefer to be asked and for the data to be hashed for security, but personally, I want to follow my friends on social services.

Angry Birds and Cut The Rope are checking my address book too, presumably so I can see high scores of friends. I am a little perplexed as to what non-social apps like Cheap Gas! or Uber are doing with the data, so Kudos to AdiOS for the heads up. Thankfully Apple will soon require apps to ask for permission to see your address book.

If you’re curious as to which apps are actually transmitting your address book, check out the console interface mitmproxy. A more mainstream-ready graphic user interface of mitmproxy would be more valuable, as AdiOS could cause unnecessary fear if misunderstood. I commend Veracode for including a “Don’t Panic” section on the AdiOS site, but I still see this as a security software company trying to cash in on media hype in addition to assisting people.

Maybe I’m a bit naive, but I think that with time we’re going to chill out about privacy. If you sell or misuse my data, I’ll scorn you, but I’m not that worried if it’s applied to improve my experience.

There are certainly risks to apps silently transmitting your address book, but privacy is such a hot-button issue that we’ve blown the problem out of proportion. I just feel like everyone is chasing the bumbling but kind-hearted hunchback with pitchforks and torches.

[Image Credit: Disney]