Facebook Caught Collecting Data from Android Device
In 2012 they said, “Necessity Will Soon Make Facebook the World’s Largest Mobile Ad Network World”. Well! Until June 2017, it was reported that Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users and still counting.
As it grew some raised the issue about privacy and it was assured by Facebook that “Facebook has changed the way you set your privacy options, and it’s much easier to understand now who can see what. Wow, we believed it.
In late 2013 the world moved into mobile and laptop or desktop sales started slumping, the lowest market saturation has been in 2015 since the Great Recession. Looking at the changing trends Facebook didn’t want to be left out and was quick to latch on.
Facebook introduced its own Android App, and we were told that this app will simplify our Facebook experience by providing all our favorite features from one spot. Wow, and we believed it.
Last night the news flashed that Facebook has been collecting call records and SMS data from Android devices for years. Really, are you guys serious! What is it when a Twitter user reported this breach that Facebook has all the details of your call history in their data file? Well, this also raked up the recent Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, prompting them to download all the data that Facebook stores on their account. This is scary, or says spooky or better say snoopy.
We didn’t realize why Facebook is requesting us to let them have access to contact, SMS data, and call history on Android devices. It was told to us that they wanted to improve the friend recommendation algorithm, and didn’t want us to bother us with the business contact and personal friendship. Wow! So sweet and we believed it.
When Facebook would prompt Android users to let their messenger application be the default client, we didn’t realize it was to gather data. Nobody remembers when it all started that Facebook started this opt-in prompt that pushes users with a big blue button to upload, and that is when it all started the historical data gathering. Nevertheless, today users have nothing to say when they found that their call history data are stored on Facebook’s servers.
Facebook has been doing this for years since that time Android permissions were not so strict. Google later changed Android permissions to make it clearer, but developers could bypass this and still access call and SMS data. In October Google scrapped the old Android API.
Facebook clarified how the data collection works and that the feature is opt-in, but the company did not say why it needs the data or what it uses it for.
This whole saga comes in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, of obtaining personal information from up to 50 million Facebook users.
We believed all that the Big Tech would say about privacy, but today the users are concerned. The exploitation of this kind raises a question that Big Tech companies are doing it for their own business interest, with no respect for privacy.
Some high-profile companies have suspended ties with Facebook amid the controversy. These companies say that they are pulling ads from not only Facebook, but Instagram also — but only for a week. Wow, so love me or hate me, you can’t ignore me, because of necessity.
As we write this, we came to know that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has offered his apologies and vows to safeguard users’ privacy. Take it or leave it.
Julia Sowells924 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.