It’s bad enough AT&T was shafted during Steve Jobs keynote at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference on Monday, when the slow network lead to heckling and a suggestion for the iPhone to move be available through Verizon (the grass is always greener). But a security breach at AT&T has revealed private information about some iPad users. The Washington Post reports that over 100,000 email addresses of iPad users were inadvertently made accessible through a security loophole, handing over the contact info for several high profile individuals.
Celebrities, socialites, business and finance executives have had their email addresses compromised, but perhaps the most startling is that of White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. Talk about landing oneself in hot water. AT&T has known about the issue since Monday, and acknowledged as having been an escalated yet resolved issue by Wednesday night.
Considering Apple had its own security breach issues with the unveiling of the iPhone 4 weeks before Steve Jobs could present it to the world, maybe Apple and AT&T aren’t the best of bedfellows right now. Just yesterday I mentioned that security is a major aspect of the mobile sector, as it pertained to Microsoft’s plans for providing remote access and editing tools for its Office Suite. With AT&T’s security giving up the email addresses of some of the world’s most powerful people, there is likely to be more probing as a result.
The Washington Post mentions another tie-in to mobile security issues, noting that
“The security problem comes amid increasing concern by regulators and lawmakers of the protection of personal data on the Internet. Google last month disclosed that when compiling pictures for its Street View application, its cameras had collected personal data from residential WiFi networks. That admission has sparked lawsuits and investigations by regulators around the globe.”
So what can AT&T do now? Apologize some more, make sure the problem is fixed, and create a dedicated initiative towards protecting consumer privacy. Toting a privacy stamp of approval is free marketing at this point–it’s like putting a “eco-friendly” sticker on the box. Consumers crave privacy right now, and the demand will only grow.
As mobile devices gain in popularity and find more ways to be our personal assistants by running in the background, the constant data-sharing will become the primary concern around upcoming privacy issues that will occur industry-wide.