Embattled social network Path is hoping to repair its image and continue its growth following a high-profile privacy gaffe.
The company, which operates social networks involving close friends and immediate family, found itself under the public eye when researchers discovered that the service logged and transmitted address book information without user notification.
"We made a trade-off," said Path chief executive Dave Morin.
"We care deeply about design, but we were also trying to build a trusted network. The reason we architected that way was for simplicity."
Morin and his company have expressed regret about the incident since it was first publicly reported and have maintained that the data was kept encrypted and only used to notify users when friends and family had signed up for the service.
While the company accepts storing users' address books was a mistake, Morin said that the issue of user privacy and data management extends beyond its own walls.
He noted that the company was forced to rely on its in-house developers in order to offer users an opt-in notification for accessing address books.
He also said that users are still unaware of the extent to which other mobile applications can access their stored information.
"We made an assumption that it was okay based on the common practices of our industry," Morin said.
"What this taught us was that the way users feel about mobility requires much more education and understanding than we thought."
Going forward, Morin said that Path will work to strengthen its security platforms. In addition to the opt-in dialogue for mobile versions of Path, the company will fully encrypt all data transmissions and storage involving contacts.
Ultimately, however, the Path boss believes that both social networks and users will need to clarify their stances on what, when and how data can be accessed and utilised.
"The problem is that the word privacy means so many things," Morin said.
"We all have different ideas, there is no real standard"
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