Facebook is forcing Apple’s hand by not upholding its end of the bargain when it comes to protecting the privacy of its users.
February 19, 2019
According to a recent expose at Techcrunch, Facebook (FB) is paying people aged 13 – 35 for the “opportunity” to vacuum up every bit of private data from their phone.
Not just metadata, not just phone location data, literally everything, by granting Facebook full root access to a paid user’s data. The article explained the basics (emphasis mine):
Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android “Facebook Research” app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook’s involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as “Project Atlas”…
Apple had to block Facebook’s “research” app to protect the privacy of its users, and because FB blatantly breached its agreement with Apple’s Enterprise Development Program.
Over at Wired, former Chief Technologist of the Federal Trade Commission Ashkan Soltani had choice words about Facebook’s operating mentality, saying, “I think it speaks to the growth-at-any-cost mentality of the company.”
This is disturbing, and clearly demonstrates Facebook is willing to pay to suck up your data like a Dyson vacuum. Android still runs this “research” application.
But surprisingly, it gets worse…
In public, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg have promised to “do better by their users.” But in private, that isn’t happening according to Wired (numbering mine):
- They’ve promised to protect user privacy by cutting off developer access to data while continuing to give it away to corporate giants and major advertisers.
- They’ve vowed to investigate foreign interference in elections, all while withholding information about the extent of that interference on Facebook.
- They’ve launched efforts to make their ads more transparent, while crippling external efforts by organizations like ProPublica to pull back the curtain even further.
So, Facebook is doing exactly the opposite of what they are promising in public. If you went to a store and bought a product that did the opposite of what it claimed to do, and that did harm, you could get a refund and pursue other remedies.
Facebook is “free,” in exchange for access to your privacy. We now know they are willing to pay to get full access to your entire life.
Since you can’t get a refund, you should consider deleting your account. The Techcrunch “research app” expose reveals exactly why (emphasis mine):
‘This hands Facebook continuous access to the most sensitive data about you, and most users are going to be unable to reasonably consent to this regardless of any agreement they sign, because there is no good way to articulate just how much power is handed to Facebook when you do this.”
The uncertainty of what exactly Facebook will do with your data once you hand it over, even if you got paid for it, is chilling. If they are willing to go to the lengths they do to collect data… how can you trust them in a paid relationship?
The answer is you can’t. And this applies to more than Facebook. You shouldn’t trust any other company or Government agency like the NSA, FBI, CIA or any other agency.
Because Techwire also revealed that Google was guilty of running an app (Screenwise Meter) that violates Apple’s Enterprise certificate too. Through the same “back door.”
Your private data is yours. The evidence shows companies are willing to go to great length to access that data, and that should worry you.
There isn’t any good reason to trust these megaliths with access to your data, even if they offer “free” services in exchange for it.
Right now, your private life is an open book thanks to the “collect it all” attitude of companies like Facebook, Google, and Snapchat.
With just a few clicks, a phone call, and a few dollars almost everything someone wants to find out about you can quickly be put together into a complete file.
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