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Facebook fends off new NYT charges over data access

05 June, 2018, 00:02 | Author: Abraham Jackson

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".

He confirmed the use of the data sharing agreements with around 60 companies - including Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft, and Samsung - which were used to allow users to access Facebook back before there were app stores and standard operating systems. Instead saying that they are more like service providers; with the service being that user data is being stored on their servers.

But the Times said the access continued even after Facebook agreed with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 to better protect data and only share it after obtaining consumers' express consent.

"I think the more unauthorized sharing that comes out, the more the FTC is going to be inclined to impose a significant civil penalty on Facebook", said David Vladeck, a former top official at the agency when it punished Facebook in 2011.

Facebook says it disagrees with how The New York Times is presenting data-sharing deals it has used for at least 10 years. In the case of the private APIs that Facebook supplied to the makers of phones, tablets, smart TVs, and other devices, the company's Ime Archibong, VP of Product Partnerships, said in the company's statement that it had "controlled them tightly".

"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other goal than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", Facebook wrote. Partners could not integrate the user's Facebook features with their devices without the user's permission. To date, Facebook has ended 22 such partnerships with technology companies.

Friends of friends: On the above point, the story says that one reporter discovered that the BlackBerry Hub gleaned private data, including political leanings and events they planned to attend, from 556 of his friends.

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A response that is really par for the course for BlackBerry and as noted, the data was not used in the same manner as Cambridge Analytica.

There are legitimate and useful reasons for a smartphones and other internet-connected gadgets to strike agreements permitting them access to Facebook's user information.

"Over and over Facebook has proven itself unworthy of user's trust". Newer Blackberry-branded Android devices don't use the APIs, it said.

The FTC declined to comment.

"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", New Jersey Rep. These partnership deals allow these companies access to your and your friends' data in an incredibly similar fashion as was supplied to Cambridge Analytica.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who previously introduced legislation for a "privacy bill of rights", said the "secret data sharing partnerships" add "urgent new reasons for stronger privacy protections-beginning with a privacy bill of rights modeled on Europe's new rules".

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