The names on the list were almost all familiar names. They were people that I actually know, but with a twist: they were friends of friends more than people I would actually call friends. The question is, how does Apple know of me knowing them? That's a tough one, because:
2. None of them were in my iPhone's contacts.
3. I do not have a Facebook account.
4. None of them are Twitter contacts.
Clearly, Apple has a way of data mining. It probably cross references the contact lists of people who do upload their data to its servers; it probably digs up other lists, too. Somewhere, someone in these lists had me as a contact. From then on, the path was paved.
The lesson is clear: be careful what you put online, because someone out there will add one to one and come up with wonderful revelations concerning you. But more importantly, this is a warning shot: if Apple knows so much about me, then what does Google know? After all, I and most other people volunteer tons of information to Google. Oh, and what can we do about friends who volunteer much more information about us to these services than we would like?
Clearly, there is a need to strenghten privacy regulations and enforcement around online services. Not that this will happen in our lifetime, given that lobbying power of Facebook, Google & Co.
Image by Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta, Creative Commons license