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Path CEO vows stricter protection of user data

Dave Morin says the next release of its app will do a better job of ensuring user privacy.

Path founder Dave Morin CNET,James Martin

SAN FRANCISCO--Path, which found itself as the target of outrage last month after it was discovered that its app was absorbing users' address books without notifying them, is promising to "hash" personal data it uses in the next release of its app.

The issue came up at a gathering at Path's headquarters in which it rolled out version 2.1 of its popular app.

Dave Morin, the CEO and founder, said that he handled the controversy as best he could. He said Path is working with Truste, a third-party certification company.

"We did what we thought was the best thing to do--be transparent and apologize and make a change," said Morin. "We went further and deleted all the data."

Still, he said the startup would do more. "We will do hashing of the data," he said. "We're very committed. We care a lot."

He didn't defend what happened but stressed that "we're in the nascent days of mobile social." He didn't say when Path would release the next update.

The Path controversy quickly spread as it came to light that many apps take in address books to help connect and add users. The issue soon caught the attention of lawmakers, and led Apple to say that it would enforce its policy, which requires app makers to notify users when its taking personal information.

Ultimately, the privacy mess did nothing to hurt Path's business. While Morin said a "small number of users" asked Path to deactivate their accounts--at that time, a users couldn't do that on their own--the company has steadily been adding users.

Since it released Path 2.0 in November, Morin said more than 2 million people have become members.