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12 ON YOUR SIDE ALERT

Keeping your smart phone address book private

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A 12 on Your Side alert if you have a smart phone. You may not know it, but your address book contacts are at risk when you use online services. Your information can be accessed when you link to some of the most popular sites with your smart phone.   

Cindy Berry stores quite a bit on her smart phone.  

"Just about everything a lot of info about friends, family - there at the touch of a button," Berry said. 

What she didn't realize - is how easy it is for people she doesn't know to access that information. 

"It doesn't make me feel secure. It's not right," she stated. 

Cyber Expert Theresa Payton says one study shows 11% of the most popular apps are snooping. 

"We're surmising its marketing, who are you connected to, who is in your network," Payton explained. 

Some don't warn you at all. 

"People need to be upset this was happening. You never gave them permission to be in your address book," Payton said. 

Others are sneaky about it - maybe they offer to find your friends for you if you sign up for a new social network. You say yes - they dig right in to your contacts. 

"When you get those things that help you find your friends say no thanks I can do it myself," said Payton. 

And at this point, Theresa says, there's not much we can do about it. 

Apple says it plans to make sure apps that follow this practice send you a warning they're going to look at your contacts - this after busting Yelp, Gowalla and Hipster for snooping in your address book. 

Google said that any apps that do this on their phones must ask your permission up front.  

"I think it should be the very first thing in an agreement - how much of your information they will take," Berry said. 

Experts say one thing you can do when you get those warning pop ups, for example asking for location or access to your address book, think twice before you give the "ok." 

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