If in 2018 the polemics involving the Facebook showed that the social network set up a real scam with the platform's user data, this year they are proving that Mark Zuckerberg is making no effort to get his hands on the personal information of millions of people even bypassing important privacy laws from Apple.
Recently, an article published by Wall street journal This exposes another method adopted by Facebook to acquire data from amazing users who do not even use the social network. The report showed that the company collected data from health applications (both iOS and Android) without any permission from the user, who also did not know that this data was read and / or shared with third parties.
According to WSJ, out of over 70 apps tested, at least 11 secretly shared personal information with Facebook. On iOS, Azumio's Instant Heart Rate app (considered the most popular heart rate app in the US App Store) sent your measurement data to Facebook right after the reading was done. The Flo app (which claims to have 25 million active users) also shared information about the menstrual cycle of users with Facebook, as well as informing when these women wanted to get pregnant.
In addition to the two apps above, WSJ released the name of only 3 other applications (out of 11 found). They are: Realtor (which shared the location and price of the listings seen by the user), BetterMe (which reported the weight and height of users) and the Breethe app (which disclosed the email users used to log in to the user). app and the name of the measurements taken).
In response to the allegations of WSJ, a Facebook spokesman said some sharing activities disclosed in the report “seemed to violate its privacy statement,” as the company “asks developers to avoid the sending of financial, health or other categories of personal information ”. The representative also said that he has already signaled the developers of the above apps to stop sending information that may be considered personal.
We require application developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us.
Application-shared data is often used in a Facebook tool that provides statistics about user activity. Facebook also uses the same data to serve advertising and market research, but while its terms (in theory) allow it to be used in other ways, the company insists that it does not use it for other purposes.
Meanwhile, Apple said it requires applications to “inform and obtain prior user consent” to collect data, preventing unauthorized access and use of such information by third parties. Ma noted that it is quickly investigating any app or service that may be violating the App Store's privacy terms and taking immediate action if necessary.
This “data bridge” has also come to the notice of the US political sphere, and some politicians want more answers. Among them, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tasked two state agencies (the New York State Department and the Financial Services Department) to examine data sharing between Facebook and the apps cited in the report. He also asked the federal regulators to act in this case.
We'll see what is the result of this more Facebook fiasco