Critical Path: Here's how Path can save itself, if it acts fast

Critical Path: Here's how Path can save itself, if it acts fast

Summary: Four simple steps that Path can follow -- right now -- to save its reputation and potentially, its business.

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Critical Path: Here's how Path can save itself - Jason O'Grady

Earlier today I posted about how upstart social network Path was discovered uploading iOS user's entire address books to it's servers without notification and without asking for permission.

Here are four simple things that Path can do to right the ship, but the clock's ticking...

  1. Don't wait for Apple to approve the 2.0.6 version of your iOS app with the opt-in feature. That could take days or weeks.
  2. Allow users to delete their address book contents via your Web portal right now. (And do us a favor and dispense with the PR sounding "Automatic Moments" crap, we know that it's just spin for automatically share our location).
  3. Promise that the Address Book data that you've already compiled will be permanently deleted.
  4. Beg for mercy. Don't spin it or try the "it's a feature" garbage, either. Just come clean and tell your users that you screwed up.

It's quite simple really. If Path did the above by tomorrow, I'd consider re-installing the iOS app. But if it doesn't, Path will suffer irreparable damage and users will defect in droves.

Path already dodged a bullet with it's creepy automatic location sharing "feature" and I'm not sure that it can pull another rabbit out of its hat unless it takes immediate and decisive action.

Would you use Path for iOS in its current state?

Topics: iOS, Apple, Apps, Mobile OS, Servers

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8 comments
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  • RE: Critical Path: Here's how Path can save itself, if it acts fast

    This is a MAJOR misstep by Path, and needs fixing, in pretty much the way you say, Jason.

    As beautiful as Path is, and as good as its user experience, I won't be using it again until this is fixed.
    trib@...
  • RE: Critical Path: Here's how Path can save itself, if it acts fast

    I was looking at the app just two days ago and waffled. Glad I did. I will not be downloading this app. No way. No how. Was there no notification or EUL that stated they would download the contents of your phone book? Argh!
    The Danger is Microsoft
  • Not using it again is good, but ...

    ... what about folks who are IN Path users' address books?

    The company was obviously deceptive about harvesting that data. Can they really be trusted to not use it or sell it for whatever purpose?

    I know you're calling for that data to be deleted, but can Path really be trusted to do so? Is there any way to legally force Path to delete it? Is there a law or at least legal precedent to use as leverage?

    Folks saying "I won't use it again until it's fixed" is fine. Frankly, I haven't used it and won't, now ... or probably ever, since I wouldn't feel like I could trust them. But I'm equally concerned about MY data already being in Path's databases without my permission, what they might do with it, and how that might impact me -- and I'm not even a Path user/customer.
    jscott69
  • RE: Critical Path: Here's how Path can save itself, if it acts fast

    If companies would simply be honest with their consumers, they would build much more loyalty. We understand that you have humans that work for you, and humans make honest mistakes and sometimes they are lazy and occasionally somebody just plain does the wrong thing. Apologize for the honest mistakes and admit when somebody did something dishonest, sack them, and then apologize.
    m@...
  • Privacy in iOS

    I'd be very surprised if this feature survived the next iOS update. It completely makes sense that shared phone services (like CoreLocation) and other personally-addressable things (like APNS) need opt-in, and so should AddressBook.

    Grabbing all the data you can is such a temptation for a programmer when bandwidth and servers are so cheap....

    P
    peter.bennett
  • There should be no recovery for this product

    Any company/CEO who would knowingly implement something as intrusive as uploading your address book will do whatever they want. So what if they make nice and apologize for this. The Management of Path has clearly stated that they don't give a damn about privacy. So they shut down this offensive invasion of privacy. It looks like it already the second one users have found, why would you think there won't be more. There is no excuse for even having discussed doing this let alone implementing it.
    df-zdnet
  • RE: Critical Path: Here's how Path can save itself, if it acts fast

    I would never, ever trust a company like this. They blew it.
    gribittmep
  • Who does such things?

    "Any company/CEO who would knowingly implement something as intrusive as uploading your address book will do whatever they want." Sneaky behavior bespeaks of dishonest intensions. They knew what they were doing, and they knew it was unacceptable to the people they were doing it to. Crooks are crooks and will continue to be crooks. Getting caught and making PR adjustments to continue their game changes nothing. Given the opportunity to "get one over" they will do it again. Next time you may not be looking. Such people should be abandoned, shut-out, and shut-down, remembered only by what happens to it, when a company violates both public trust, and ethical business practices. Some doings should not be "swept under" or be forgiven. Sometimes there should be no second chances and examples should be made: send a message to others who might be tempted, "No do-overs!" for some violations. How else would one establish a voluntarily accepted un-crossable line?
    homelessink