Today Apple has released a statement regarding user's contact data in iOS apps downloaded from the official App Store. This information comes amid allegations that the Path application for iPhone had been harvesting user information without user authorization. Apple's statement today assures users that any application sharing or keeping information belonging to a user without that user's consent is against Apple policy.
When an application is sent in to the iTunes App Store, it goes through a rigorous set of tests to make sure it's high quality enough for Apple to carry it. Path's situation is unique in that their first iteration did pass the tests, but this subsequent version (version 2.0) opened the door for them to collect user data without the users permission. Have a look at what Apple has to say about this:
"Apps that collect or transmit a user's contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines. We're working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release."
Tom Neumayr - Apple PR
This should put to rest most users concerned that Apple apps may be taking more liberties than they're supposed to, including those raising their voices this week. Congressmen House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Commerce Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee Chair G.K. Butterfield sent a letter this week to Apple suggesting that Apple's iOS app developer policies may fall short of protecting information, but it appears that Apple has been taking the lead on the project for some time now.