In Latest Privacy Scandal, Facebook Gave Apple, Amazon And Others Unprecedented Access To User Data

Facebook has been giving user data to at least 60 major device manufacturers over the last decade - including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung - as part of a data-sharing partnership program which allowed the companies to integrate various features such as messaging and "like" buttons into their products.

The data-sharing agreement, reported Sunday evening by the New York Times, allowed manufacturers to access information on relationship status, calendar events, political affiliations and religion, among other things. An Apple spokesman, for example, said that the company relied on private access to Facebook data to allow users to post on the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things.

What's more, the manufacturers were able to access the data of users' friends without their explicit consent, despite Facebook declaring they would not let outside companies access user data. The catch? The NYT explains.

Facebook’s view that the device makers are not outsiders lets the partners go even further, The Times found: They can obtain data about a user’s Facebook friends, even those who have denied Facebook permission to share information with any third parties.

In interviews, several former Facebook software engineers and security experts said they were surprised at the ability to override sharing restrictions. -NYT

It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said Ashkan Soltani, a research and privacy consultant and former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

To test one partner’s access to Facebook’s private data channels, The Times used a reporter’s Facebook account — with about 550 friends — and a 2013 BlackBerry device, monitoring what data the device requested and received. (More recent BlackBerry devices, which run Google’s Android operating system, do not use the same private channels, BlackBerry officials said.)

Immediately after the reporter connected the device to his Facebook account, it requested some of his profile data, including user ID, name, picture, “about” information, location, email and cellphone number. The device then retrieved the reporter’s private messages and the responses to them, along with the name and user ID of each person with whom he was communicating.

The data flowed to a BlackBerry app known as the Hub, which was designed to let BlackBerry users view all of their messages and social media accounts in one place.

The Hub also requested — and received — data that Facebook’s policy appears to prohibit. Since 2015, Facebook has said that apps can request only the names of friends using the same app. But the BlackBerry app had access to all of the reporter’s Facebook friends and, for most of them, returned information such as user ID, birthday, work and education history and whether they were currently online.

The BlackBerry device was also able to retrieve identifying information for nearly 295,000 Facebook users. Most of them were second-degree Facebook friends of the reporter, or friends of friends.

In all, Facebook empowers BlackBerry devices to access more than 50 types of information about users and their friends, The Times found. -NYT

Despite winding down the partnerships in April - including the posting capabilities used by Apple, Facebook has defended the data-sharing agreements, saying they comply with the company's privacy policies and a 2011 consent decree issued by the FTC. Facebook officials say they don't know of any cases where user information has been misused. 

These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform,” said Ime Archibong, a Facebook vice president. Unlike developers that provide games and services to Facebook users, the device partners can use Facebook data only to provide versions of “the Facebook experience,” the officials said.

“These contracts and partnerships are entirely consistent with Facebook’s F.T.C. consent decree,” said Archibong.

Former FTC official Jessica Rich, however, disagreed with that assessment.

“Under Facebook’s interpretation, the exception swallows the rule,” said Ms. Rich, now employed by the Consumers Union. “They could argue that any sharing of data with third parties is part of the Facebook experience. And this is not at all how the public interpreted their 2014 announcement that they would limit third-party app access to friend data.”

And because Facebook does not consider the device makers to be outsidersthe data sharing partnerships go even furtherThe Times discovered, which is what allows the companies to access user data of a Facebook user's friends even if they've denied Facebook permission to share information with third parties

The discovery of the manufacturer data-sharing agreements comes on the heels of a massive data harvesting scandal in which the social media giant allowed third party apps to gather massive quantities of user information for various political and marketing purposes. In March, political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was revealed to have misused the private information of tens of millions of Facebook users.  The Cambridge Analytica ordeal shed light on the pervasive collection of data which has come under growing scrutiny since the scandal began in March. 

The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how loosely Facebook had policed the bustling ecosystem of developers building apps on its platform. They ranged from well-known players like Zynga, the maker of the FarmVille game, to smaller ones, like a Cambridge contractor who used a quiz taken by about 300,000 Facebook users to gain access to the profiles of as many as 87 million of their friends.

Apparently Facebook discussed the issue as early as 2012 and simply decided not to change the arrangements, despite the data-sharing agreements being flagged as a privacy issue. 

But the device partnerships provoked discussion even within Facebook as early as 2012, according to Sandy Parakilas, who at the time led third-party advertising and privacy compliance for Facebook’s platform.

This was flagged internally as a privacy issue,” said Parakilas, who left Facebook in 2012 and has emerged as a new voice against the company's data handling policies. “It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook’s testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled.

As for the various answers given by the device manufacturers (via The Times)

  • Samsung declined to respond to questions about whether it had any data-sharing partnerships with Facebook. Amazon also declined to respond to questions.
  • Usher Lieberman, a BlackBerry spokesman, said in a statement that the company used Facebook data only to give its own customers access to their Facebook networks and messages. Mr. Lieberman said that the company “did not collect or mine the Facebook data of our customers,” adding that “BlackBerry has always been in the business of protecting, not monetizing, customer data.”
  • Microsoft entered a partnership with Facebook in 2008 that allowed Microsoft-powered devices to do things like add contacts and friends and receive notifications, according to a spokesman. He added that the data was stored locally on the phone and was not synced to Microsoft’s servers.
  • Facebook acknowledged that some partners did store users’ data — including friends’ data — on their own servers. A Facebook official said that regardless of where the data was kept, it was governed by strict agreements between the companies.

Comments

Cognitive Dissonance Stu Elsample Mon, 06/04/2018 - 08:28 Permalink

We tell our children all the time not to put sensitive personal information on Facebook or any other place for that matter. Except for one of our children, they stop for a short time and then start right back up again.

This is one of the signs of a deeply seated addiction. The prevailing need to be 'seen' and affirmed is overwhelming and a sign of great insecurity. It is a cultural thing and not exclusive to our children.

Ironically, in another classic sign of addiction, the more affirmation they receive the more they need. One is too many and all is not enough.

In reply to by Stu Elsample

InsaneBane Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 06/04/2018 - 08:29 Permalink

Don't be suprised it is Pentagon's (DARPA) project Lifelog.

 

LifeLog was a project of the Information Processing Techniques Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). According to its bid solicitation pamphlet, it was to be "an ontology-based (sub)system that captures, stores, and makes accessible the flow of one person's experience in and interactions with the world in order to support a broad spectrum of associates/assistants and other system capabilities". The objective of the LifeLog concept was "to be able to trace the 'threads' of an individual's life in terms of events, states, and relationships", and it has the ability to "take in all of a subject's experience, from phone numbers dialed and e-mail messages viewed to every breath taken, step made and place gone".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Information_Awareness

 

WIRED STAFF BUSINESS 02.04.04 12:00 PM PENTAGON KILLS LIFELOG PROJECT
https://www.wired.com/2004/02/pentagon-kills-lifelog-project/

Facebook founded February 4, 2004
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

 

Let the general government be reduced to ferign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plan duties to be performed by a few servants. (Thomas Jefferson, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Bergh)

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

CuttingEdge Yuri Bezmenov Mon, 06/04/2018 - 09:04 Permalink

OT (apologies Tylers)

FBI have dropped some HRC files for your perusal:

https://vault.fbi.gov/hillary-r.-clinton/hillary-r.-clinton-part-22-of-…

 

One thing I would urge viewing (if interested), is the post-Benghazi email exchange between one of the most insidious skin-crawling sub-human cunts in DC, Phillipe Reines, and someone we all know very well, journalist Michael Hastings...

 

Starts at page 365 of the PDF.

 

Certifiable vermin like Reines have a habit of getting personal. And give the historically (back to Caesar and Brutus) unparalleled cuntery going on under (and mostly directed by) Obama that we have seen playing out, I'm starting to wonder whether it was Fast and Furious, or rather Benghazi, that initially drew the ire of the cunts who had him waxed the year following this exchange.

In reply to by Yuri Bezmenov

Mr. Kwikky CuttingEdge Mon, 06/04/2018 - 09:14 Permalink

For more than 35 years, the U.S. had been ruled by an oligarchic establishment of Zionist Jews, evangelical Christians, and corporate robber barons. This unconstitutional cabal is responsible for the 2007 banking collapse; wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Palestine and now Syria; the 2001 World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks; the rising police state and the impoverishment of U.S. citizens. The 2016 presidential election came down to a choice between continued slavery under the oligarchy, in the person Hillary Clinton, and someone else. Donald Trump’s victory represents the victory of someone else, someone not tainted by decades of fraud, corruption, treason and incompetence.

To hear shell-shocked Democrats tell it, Trump’s victory was utterly unexpected. That they might have thought so is understandable since they had their noses buried deeply in the “Hillary Clinton for President” hymnal. As they fantasized about their expected coronation and intoned the requisite verities, they were oblivious to the seething popular hatred toward establishment Washington. The fact is that some did predict a Trump victory, but they got virtually no attention because the media was conditioning the public to vote for Clinton.

For the long term, though, what matters more than the fact of Trump‘s victory is its necessity, a detail that is lost on those wailing hysterically and hypocritically about the rise of fascism. The truth is, fascism or proto-fascism has been the national governing ethos of the U.S. since at least 1980. 

In reply to by CuttingEdge

pods Mr. Kwikky Mon, 06/04/2018 - 09:27 Permalink

I doubt many BBY users are connecting to FB.

And the Hub is the single greatest tool one can have on a phone. I picked up my better half's Iphone to find an email and all that crap is it's own icon. WTF?

The Hub integrates every messaging system you have, as well as can hold idk how many email accounts. I think I have three on my phone.

Not even sure what I will do when my Z30 croaks. Maybe go back to a flip phone? I just can't seem to accept Android's policies, and fuck the Iphone.  Maybe I'll test out the BBY android phones. I doubt they can cage it to my satisfaction though.

pods

In reply to by Mr. Kwikky

Joe Davola pods Mon, 06/04/2018 - 09:59 Permalink

All these other companies have to be loving Zuckerberg taking the heat, because no doubt they only used the data they scarfed for the benefit of the users - much like the US interfered in other countries for their benefit, as Clapper/Brennen would have us believe.

I don't want to be in the Apple ecosystem, but the rest of my family insists so they can tell when I've read their missives.  A few weeks ago, having a discussion with the misses at the dinner table and the lovely Mrs. Davola is wondering aloud about some issue - then proceeds to say "wonder if Siri knows".  Siri replied immediately with the answer, without having to ask the question again.  As expected, the snoopy bitch was listening all along.

Then, last week I was involved in an accident which triggered the auto-911 call in my vehicle.  All well and good, until later that day I started getting ads on my iPad from several local ambulance chasers.

Zuckerberg is correct - privacy is dead.  Unfortunately this was done by the private sector, so it's damn efficient and all invasive.  If it was the gov, they'd have screwed it nine-ways-to-Sunday.  Now, the gov can just compel the FANGs to surrender the data at will or get the direct connection to each database.  Bravest of new worlds we reside in.

In reply to by pods

mtl4 rosiescenario Mon, 06/04/2018 - 12:07 Permalink

Queue Zuck doing his best Steve Urkel impression..........should make for some pretty fantastic sized EU fines too.  Too bad Blackberry really missed the mark trying to keep up with android/apple back a few years ago instead of working on a privacy based phone.  The hub is the best thing going and they could have been rocketing to the top again while FANG's get hammered over privacy sales.

In reply to by rosiescenario

Ms No InsaneBane Mon, 06/04/2018 - 15:49 Permalink

Speaking of which, watch out for Indo_Expat.  He is fond of death threats, threatening to dox and dangles links.

"Don't delude yourself that you are completely anonymous and cannot be tracked down given time and effort... you will learn the real life consequences for insanely engaging an entity you know nothing about... Awesomely stupid and dead... you will one day gag on that "meh" labia lapping cunt when you come to believe the real world is the same as digital...

Cerebral yeast infection cunt... In Alaska my Tlinget name is... or Satan in English..  I reserve any hatred for women specifically for mindless American cunts like yourself... we can find anyone we are looking for....

Yadda Yadda, you get the idea.  Some heavy hitters dangled their IPs I hope he bites.

In reply to by InsaneBane

Chupacabra-322 InsaneBane Mon, 06/04/2018 - 08:58 Permalink

@ Insane,

 

The name Rothschild means Red-shield and it originates with the red shield ‘Star of David’ symbol (not a Jewish symbol before the Rothschilds) which they displayed on their house in Frankfurt.

You have taken up the tabernacle of Molek
    and the star of your god Rephan,
    the idols you made to worship. -Acts 7:43, St. Stephen quoting the prophet Amos. Rephan is Saturn, whose symbol is a cube, or six-sided object, or the perimeter of the hexagonal star that appears on "Israel's" flag.

As soon as Stephen brought this up, the Jews in attendance stoned him to death. We should therefore point this out as often as we can. (((They))) hate it.

 

In reply to by InsaneBane

Yuri Bezmenov Chupacabra-322 Mon, 06/04/2018 - 09:09 Permalink

I came to a point in life that I conclude that we need to eradicate the fifth column in our country. We have been usurped by the synagogue of satan, there is no point of return anymore..

The U.S. republic founded in 1776 bears no resemblance to the anti-democratic police state that has declared war on its citizens and provokes needless wars in the Middle East at the behest of Israel.
At the center of it all is the parasitic control of the Israel Lobby on the U.S. government.

http://thehostandtheparasite.com/

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

Chris2 Chupacabra-322 Mon, 06/04/2018 - 12:18 Permalink

Saturn rules the Jewish people, which is why I predicted all that is happening now to them 20 yrs ago. Pluto entered Capricorn 2009 to Saturn entering Dec 21, 2017 when Trump signed exec order targeting deep state, to Jupiter entering in 2020. Then you have the conjunction of Saturn/Pluto/Sun in CAP Jan 13, 2020 conjunct the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto.

They will be CRUSHED.

2009 people realized all those bankers were Jews.

2017 people realized it was the Jews trying to take Trump down.

2019 expect them to realize Jews took down Christianity

2020-Boom!

People thought I was crazy when I said this, so far I am right.

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

Cognitive Dissonance JRobby Mon, 06/04/2018 - 09:25 Permalink

The addict never perceives their fix as 'bad'. Towards the end, every excuse in the book is trotted out to justify continuing the high.

The sad part is the high slowly diminishes, requiring moar and moar just to maintain the prior high. Then its a slow spiral down into hell. Doesn't matter if we are talking about drugs, alcohol, work, exercise, sex, consumerism or social media.

In reply to by JRobby