Apple Knowingly Approves An App That Captures Your Contact Information!


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Holy Crap! Apple is loosing it’s collective mind!

OK, a few months back, there was a big uproar over several game applications being removed from the AppStore because they used a game engine that acquired “your” phone number for identification purposes. Mind you, thats what the UDID (Unique Device IDentifier) number is that is assigned to each and every iPhone/iPod touch made. So, Apple removed the applications from the AppStore until the engine developer fixed the problem.

Now, I learn that Apple has “knowingly” approved Dragon Dictation when it captures your contact information directly off your iPhone/iPod touch! I say knowingly because it’s right in the applications description:

PRIVACY:

In order to improve recognition accuracy, Dragon Dictation will only upload names from your address book… no emails, addresses, phone numbers, or other personal information are uploaded. This information is not used for any purpose other than improving the usability of the application. All data is stored in secure data centers according to stringent privacy and security standards. For more information, please view our corporate privacy policy at http://www.nuance.com/company/privacy/

So, why has Apple allowed Dragon Dictation to be approved to the AppStore when other applications were pulled for similar reasons? Was it because they were “up front” about the acquisition?

I have AppAdvice.com to thank for spilling the beans for me. There were probably other blogs that reported this information, but I read it first there.

Their claim is that having that information makes it easier for Dragon Dictation to dictate names you might speak when using their software.

Now, to be fair, Nuance Communications did post that they were doing this in the application description and I didn’t read that part of the description when I downloaded and used the software. However, I feel very violated by this and am very surprised that, in this day and age, the “option” to disable the sending of this information wasn’t put into the software in the first place. You don’t have to be a psychic to know how people are going to react to news that their private information is being acquired without their knowledge.

I guess I should have realized that there would be a “catch” for being able to use Dragon Dictation for free when desktop versions of the software cost from $50 to $900 depending on the version. Still, I would have preferred to be told that I can’t use the software without the capture of my contacts.

Mind you, acquiring my contacts was not a stipulation of being able to use their software. It feels like it was since that information was “stolen” from me.

Well, the lesson I learned here today is that I need to read the entire description of every application I download from the AppStore to make sure I’m not being screwed over or my privacy is being abused just so that I can use what I just acquired.

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