The Los Angeles Times gets this week’s Long Subhed Award (pat. pending) for this piece (via Politico’s Playbook):

Smartphone apps dial up privacy worries

Undisclosed gathering of smartphone users’ address book data by Twitter and other social networking companies brings heightened scrutiny by privacy advocates and lawmakers.

Disturbing lede:

A new furor has erupted over digital privacy concerns following disclosures that Twitter Inc. and other social networking companies are reaching into people’s smartphones and retrieving their personal contact information without getting explicit permission.

Twitter acknowledged this week that anyone who used its “Find Friends” feature on iPhones and Android phones was also sending every phone number and email address in his or her address book to the company, something that was not made clear to users.

To be clear: Nothing is clear to users. Have you ever read the Terms of Service of any digital platform you use? They could have the rights to your first-born child for all you know.

But know this: Your online data is being strip-mined like West Virginia. And news reports like the LA Times piece are just the tip of the priceberg.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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