Twitter Admits to Storing Phone Contacts for 18 Months

Posted by at 4:57 pm on February 15, 2012

Twitter has reportedly admitted that it currently stores smartphone contact information for 18 months after users initiate the “find friends” feature found in the company’s mobile apps. The data stored on the company’s servers includes address book fields such as names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

The company has been criticized for failing to explicitly notify users that the data is being transmitted to remote servers and stored. The apps merely note that the software will “scan your contacts for people you already know on Twitter.”

Twitter spokeswoman Carolyn Penner has responded to the situation, claiming that a future app update will clarify the language to avoid any misunderstanding regarding the scanning and storage methods.

“We want to be clear and transparent in our communications with users,” Penner wrote in an e-mail, which was posted by LA Times. “In place of ‘Scan your contacts,’ we will use ‘Upload your contacts’ and ‘Import your contacts.””

The disclosure comes just weeks after another app developer, Path, was criticized for collecting and storing users’ contact lists when iPhone users first launched its app. The company later apologized and updated its app to ask permission before uploading the data.

Twitter plans to update both its iOS and Android apps, though a release timeframe remains unclear.

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