We'd like to congratulate smartphone only, micro-social network Path on its first mini-scandal, as it signals a sort of ascent to relevance in the social networking world. What originally started as a photo-sharing service for a group of 50 friends back in November of 2010 has seen a significant increase in notoriety since its relaunch and redesign, which expanded the network to 150 friends and added other sharing features. In a little more than two months the platform has doubled to 2 million users, and, just like a grown-up social network, it has gotten itself involved in a controversy that has the Internet talking.
After playing around with Path, hackers at the Anideo hackathon discovered that the iPhone application automatically downloads one's entire phone book to the site's servers -- sans permission. The move has bloggers crying privacy breach. "I feel quite violated that my address book is being held remotely on a third-party service," writes Matt Gemel, the hacker who discovered the issue. "This seems a little creepy," he continues. This has also brought up questions of what the company would do with that information and how much of our data we want to share with these networks -- philosophical discussions usually reserved for the big players, like Facebook. But enough people care about and use Path to find the move egregious and worthy of these debates.