Facebook in another Data Sharing Scandal involving Device Makers

Todd Singleton
June 5, 2018

The New York Times says that it discovered that the manufacturers were able to access data from members' friends even if they had specifically banned Facebook from using their data.

It added that in some cases the details were stored on the firms' own servers. "Facebook has not really explained how it obtained consent for the sharing of this data", he said in an interview.

And such reports are not something the company welcome following the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal, which involved a misuse of Facebook's data policies by the political strategy company and a failure by Facebook to properly stop such a thing from happening. That settlement followed complaints from users that Facebook wasn't allowing them to keep their information on the social network private-Facebook promised to get consent from users before sharing their data with third parties, and to avoid making deceptive claims about its privacy practices.

Furthermore, it quoted an ex-FTC official saying that Facebook's behaviour was at odds with privacy commitments it had made to the public in 2014.

This would mean that the likes of Apple and Samsung have had potential access to user data for some time. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies", added Archibong. While this sounds relatively harmless, Facebook has now been caught giving Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Blackberry and at least 56 other manufacturers "deep access" to each user and their friends without consent. And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built.

The New York Times is out with a report alleging that Facebook improperly let other companies have access to users' personal information-and even their friends' information.

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This is but another skeleton out of Facebook's closet, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw founder Mark Zuckerberg in front of the US Congress. It said 22 of the partnerships had since ended.

While Facebook says these agreements were important and that it had tight control over these partnerships from the get-go, even company employees weren't happy allowing outside companies to access their users' data.

Vladeck said the additional penalties could include a court-ordered monitor of Facebook's business practices, injunctions against particular ways of using of consumers' data or heightened monitoring by the FTC.

The device the newspaper used to demonstrate this was a 2013 BlackBerry Z10 running the BlackBerry 10 OS, which succeeded the "classic" BlackBerry OS and was used on 10 devices until BlackBerry switched over to Android in 2015.

The counterargument: Facebook responded to the article directly in a press release.

Denham told MEPs her organisation's year-long investigation into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns was "unprecedented in its scale" and thought to be the largest ever undertaken by any data protection authority in the world. Feature phones continued to outsell smartphones in North America for several more years, and feature phones still dominate the markets in India and Africa, which have tens of millions of Facebook users. In response, a spokesman for BlackBerry stressed that it "has always been in the business of protecting, not monetising, customer data".

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