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Facebook Provided Phone Makers 'Deep Access' to User Data

05 June, 2018, 00:01 | Author: Lloyd Doyle
  • Facebook gave user data to 60 companies including Apple, Amazon, and Samsung

Barbara Underwood, the new attorney general in NY, said in a statement Monday that her office continues to investigate Facebook's data use after Cambridge Analytica, which includes looking "into these "data-sharing" partnerships".

As part of its investigation, a reporter for the paper logged onto Facebook using a 2013 Blackberry device, and then monitored the data requested and received.

Raising fresh concerns about Facebook's privacy protection policies, a New York Times report has exposed how the social network allowed about 60 device makers, including Apple and Samsung, to access personal information of users and their friends. The newspaper says that the information sharing was started so that device makers could allow many of Facebook's most popular features to be found on mobile versions of the social network.

It suggested the practice meant the Silicon Valley firm might have breached an agreement it struck with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 to get consumers' "express consent" before sharing personal data with third parties in new ways.

The agreements also gave device makers access to Facebook users' friends' data, without their approval, despite the company's insistence that it would not share the information, the report said.

The New York Times discovered that the BlackBerry phone "was also able to retrieve identifying information for almost 295,000 Facebook users" and that "Facebook empowers BlackBerry devices to access more than 50 types of information about users and their friends".

"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other goal than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", said Archibong.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's app clean-up may end up being more hard than we think.


Guy Verhofstadt, chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, tweeted that Zuckerberg "was not totally honest" in claiming users control how their data is shared and who sees it.

Archibong also said that these cases were "very different" from the use of data by third party developers in the Cambridge row. To date, Facebook has ended 22 such partnerships with technology companies. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies".

Facebook confirmed the agreements, but said they were used for creating "Facebook-like experiences" before app stores were the norm.

The New York Times has broken what could amount to the next major Facebook data breech scandal.

Facing blowback from the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal in March, Facebook vowed that it had put an end to that kind of information sharing, but never revealed that device makers had a special exemption. "It's why we announced in April that we're winding down access to them", the company wrote.

A former Facebook employee who led third-party ad and privacy compliance, Sandy Parakilas, noted that the program was controversial even within Facebook. "It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook's testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled".

"Over and over Facebook has proven itself unworthy of user's trust". These partnership deals allow these companies access to your and your friends' data in an incredibly similar fashion as was supplied to Cambridge Analytica.

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