Apps Uploading Address Books Is A Privacy Side-Show Compared To DPI

While the hand-wringing over the future of journalism, blogging, the nature of conflicts of interest, yada yada, has been deeply interesting (alongside the personal attacks – we all like a good public fight don’t we?), it’s worth recalling that the furore was kicked off by a fairly pertinent point. To whit: Path was uploading user’s address books without their explicit permission.

Yes it was a rare omission by Nick Bilton to not call out the 50 or so other apps that often do this by default. But his essential point remains correct, and it’s kicked off a wave of excellent reporting into which apps behave like this, and why Apple has allowed this to go on for so long.

But while we continue to point the finger at startups with smartphone apps designed to be social, I’d like to remind Silicon Valley about another business which, despite claims to the contrary, is deeply interested in our private affairs, and is unlikely ever to be as contrite as Dave Morin was just recently.

I speak of the sector known as Deep Packet Inspection.