If you remember, there was a lot of hubbub surrounding Path about a year ago. It had been collecting user information without their permission, and this was a serious problem. Apple went as far as making it where, now in iOS 6, applications give you a prompt asking if each can access different parts of the device. The FTC announced today that Path has settled the charges, and agreed to pay an $800,000 fine. Path released a statement claiming that part of the misunderstanding was that children under the age of 13 were able to make accounts, even when asked for their birthdate in the sign up process:
As you may know, we ask users’ their birthdays during the process of creating an account. However, there was a period of time where our system was not automatically rejecting people who indicated that they were under 13. Before the FTC reached out to us, we discovered and fixed this sign-up process qualification, and took further action by suspending any under age accounts that had mistakenly been allowed to be created.
Over the next 20 years, Path is also required to receive independent privacy assessments every other year. The problem has been fixed for quite a while, but this all was still going on due to the damage done before the fixes came into play. This even went as far as the United States Congress sending a letter to Apple regarding how secure (or insecure) users’ address books and contacts were on iOS devices. As I said earlier, Apple implemented new features in iOS 6 that tell a user when the application they’re using wants to access almost any personal information on the device – so this is all finally over.
What do you think? Did Path deserve this? Too harsh? Let us know in the comments, or tweet me @TiP_Kyle.