Update on 2/19: You can now download Foodspotting 3.2 for iPhone which adds additional security and an additional confirmation after you tap "Find iPhone Contacts."
We wanted to reassure you that Foodspotting never has and never will use your iPhone contacts without your permission. The only time address book info is ever sent to Foodspotting is when you explicitly ask us to find friends from your address book by tapping, "Follow People > Find iPhone Contacts," and we never store any of this data in our database.
That said, in light of recent concerns, we're taking extra precautions to make this process even more transparent and secure in the future.
When does Foodspotting access my address book contacts?
As a convenience for users, we offer a "Find iPhone Contacts" feature. The only time your contacts are ever sent to Foodspotting is when you use this feature. We use your friends' email addresses to check if any of your friends are on Foodspotting, show you the results and delete your address book data. No phone numbers or names are transferred. We do not store this data in our database or reaccess it in the future.
What are the concerns?
Most of the concerns have been around apps that upload and store iPhone Contacts without users knowing. We've never done that. That said, if you use the Find iPhone Contacts feature on an unsecure wireless network, like a public wifi network, there is a very slight chance that hackers could access your contacts' email addresses if they happen to be on the same network as you and monitoring your activity. (When doing any online activities on an unsecure wifi network, you're subject to this sort of risk, which is why browsers and operating systems generally advise you not to deal with any sensitive data on public wifi networks.)
How is Foodspotting addressing these concerns?
In light of these concerns, we've added additional levels of security to Foodspotting 3.2. We'll also be reconfirming permission to use your contacts after you tap "Find iPhone Contacts."
What if I don't want to send my contacts to Foodspotting?
Simply avoid using "Find iPhone Contacts." You can always find friends using Facebook or Twitter, which you can securely connect to Foodspotting.