You’re Wrong, It’s Not Apple’s Fault [Path Address Book Scandal]

Path-LogoI do feel bad right now for all those users of Path on the iPhone that had address book details uploaded to Path’s servers stealthy and in the background. Consequently, this has cause Path’s current CEO to write a sincere apology blog and ultimately delete user data and update the Path application. As the fallout continues, I notice how much of the echo chamber is calling this a failure of Apple to secure user’s address book. Apple can be blamed for many things, but this is not Apple’s fault.

I first came across this idea on Dustin Curtis’ blog, where he says:

I fully believe this issue is a failure of Apple and a breach of trust by Apple, not by app developers.

After reading that, I came across this at Scripting News too. I was starting to think, these guys really don’t get it. First, let me share a story.

Some years ago I knew an older man, I’ll call him Mike, who hung around the local area we lived in Toronto. Whenever I’d be walking to the store or school , I’d see him at the local coffee shop, often with a woman, sometimes alone. One day I saw him with a woman I knew and I went over to say hi and chat with them both. Not too long after that I realized that Mike was popular with women because he would buy them stuff, give them money. This particular woman I spoke too, said that “If he gives me money, I’m going to take it”. She was saying this was Mike’s error for giving her money.

Perhaps it’s not obvious what my logic is here, but the point I’m getting at is that Mike is no more wrong for giving money away than Apple is for allowing access to a part of it’s platform. I’ve always known, and sometimes have learned the hard way, that it is the individual’s responsibility NOT to take it. Path is WRONG for taking something they should not have (without permission). Period. The woman in my example is wrong for taking money she didn’t deserve, nor has earned.

Now, we can perhaps legislate guys like Mike to not give out money to women (in exchange for popularity) or we can force Apple to secure more and more parts of it’s already brutally siloed system for the sake of forcing developers like Path to be responsible. That’s about as ass backwards as it gets.