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Path starts encrypting user contact data

The startup that launched the privacy firestorm has updated its app to secure user data.

Path founder Dave Morin, speaking at the 2011 Web 2.0 Summit. CNET,James Martin

Path, the hot San Francisco startup that ignited a firestorm of privacy concerns when it was revealed that it was absorbing entire address books from users' phones, today said it's come out with a fix.

In a blog post, Path said that with the release of Path 2.1.1, "we are enhancing our security by hashing user contact data so that it is anonymized."

This, the post goes on, will anonymize "last names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Twitter handles, and Facebook IDs" -- all information that Path collects to make its social network more effective.

Early last month, Path CEO and founder Dave Morin told a group of reporters at the company's headquarters that the company was working quickly to encrypt the data it was taking in.

The Path controversy spread quickly after the issue was discovered by a blogger in February. It 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.