Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Facebook 'not aware of any abuse' of data by phone makers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress in early April.                  Xinhua News Agency  Getty Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress in early April. Xinhua News Agency Getty
Beatrice Douglas | 06 June, 2018, 00:49

Pallone added, "Facebook and other data collectors, including these device manufacturers, should be prepared to come before Congress so that we can get a better grasp of the entire data collection ecosystem, and how people's personal information is being shared and used". In exchange, Facebook gave them nearly unrestricted access to users' data as well as their friends'.

Facebook has shared data with such companies for years, letting device makers use features such as "like" buttons and address books in their gadget's software.

The Times' investigation reportedly found that since around 2007, dozens of tech and device-maker companies were granted broad access to collect data on Facebook users and their online "friends", including friends who had denied Facebook permission to share information with third parties.

The Cambridge Analytica controversy, which first came to light in March, led to vast scrutiny for Facebook, numerous changes to its privacy practices, and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg appearing before lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

But privacy advocates have fretted that users may not have been aware of the extent that data about them, or their friends, had been transferred in the process.

"In the furor that followed, Facebook's leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users' friends", the New York Times says.

Apple, Samsung and Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

On Monday, Facebook went on the offensive, echoing to politicians on Twitter Archibong's point that data was never integrated onto devices without users' permission.

Facebook still has not answered hundreds of written questions submitted from members of Congress after Zuckerberg's testimony in April, according to congressional staff.


"Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends' information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends".

The Times report said that Facebook began closing out the partnerships in April, but questioned whether Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.

However, upon seeing what these "partnerships" are really capable of, The New York Times connected one of their reporter's Facebook accounts to a 2013 BlackBerry phone via the Hub app.

"Under the GDPR's new tools, we'll be able to use enforcement notices to require companies to delete algorithms or stop processing", said Denham. They say that their biggest fear is giving a China a window into the US government and military.

Just when the world seemed to be forgetting Cambridge Analytica, Facebook might have another major privacy scandal on its hands.

"These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform", Ime Archibong, a Facebook vice president was quoted as saying.

The social media and publishing company has data partnerships with at least 60 device companies, including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, BlackBerry and Samsung, giving them access to users' personal information.

The Times said the Facebook messages and data were routed to a BlackBerry app called the Hub, which was created to aggregate and centralize instant messages, emails, text messages and notifications from many sources, including social-networking services.

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