Facebook Gave User Data Access To Chinese Firm Flagged By US Intelligence

Facebook provided at least four Chinese electronics companies, including government-linked telecom giant Huawei, unrestricted access to user data, according to a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak on the record.

The relationships were part of a recently revealed data-sharing partnership program which included at least 60 major device manufacturers, including Apple, Amazon, Blackberry, Microsoft and Samsung - allowing the companies to integrate various Facebook features into their operating systems which gave them access to user data, and the data of users' friends without consent.

Huawei in particular has stoked concerns over national security, as lawmakers in Congress and top intelligence officials have raised red flags over whether or not the Chinese government might be able to demand access to data stored on Huawei devices or servers. While Huawei has denied the claims, the Pentagon decided to ban the sales of Huawei smartphones on U.S. military bases. 

Facebook data was only ever stored on Huawei servers, only directly on devices, according to the Washington Post

A spokesman for Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Facebook late Tuesday confirmed that it had worked with Huawei, as well as three other Chinese firms, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL. Facebook said those arrangements were “controlled from the get go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built.”

Facebook's statement followed a day of silence about its relationships with Chinese firms, which drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va). Warner said in a statement Tuesday that Facebook's relationships with Huawei and TCL raise “legitimate concerns, and I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers.” -WaPo

Facebook says they will be winding down their relationship with Huawei by the end of the week.

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

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. 

Facebook's partnerships with device manufacturers may prove to be a headache for the social media giant, as the Federal Trade Commission is already investigating the company for a string of privacy mishaps - which could at minimum result in siginiviant fines if the agency finds further violations of consumer privacy.

Comments

Stu Elsample JRobby Wed, 06/06/2018 - 06:33 Permalink

Facebook requires that a real name and a working phone # be provided to use their 'service'. The sheepy saps who voluntarily gave up that info in order to join have no excuse to bitch about their personal data being sold to the sneaky Chinks, or handed over to big brother.

Regardless...Zuck and all other snoopers/data sellers should be hung from lamp posts.

In reply to by JRobby

Last of the Mi… Son of Loki Wed, 06/06/2018 - 08:53 Permalink

And you thought fb having a massive unholy alliance with the US government was an incredibly bad thing for personal privacy. The reveal of data going to foreign governments for $$$ is as predictable as it is unbelievable. There is no way Zuck could not know what he is doing is inherently wrong and damaging to our society.

Also, rumor has it he was never sworn in before congress so anything he said cannot be held against him, meaning the whole thing was a dog and pony show signifying nothing. 

Enjoy.

In reply to by Son of Loki

land_of_the_few MCDirtMigger Wed, 06/06/2018 - 11:40 Permalink

Indeed, aren't Facebook pages and data *public data* in general? Who gives a stuff, actually?  Those users know very well they've given the entire world their life story and info and holiday pics.

This sounds much more like they have integrated Facebook functions into the phone's OS or skin/interface, to make it possible to use FB without having to rummage thru pages of icons to start up an FB function process.

And the users will probably get upset if they don't get such widgets or shortcuts built in now for FB like they already have for other important services for example GMail.

Could be argued then that FB in the handset with its widgets is constantly "spying" on the Chinese (Huawei, ZTE) in a dopey kind of way. Same with GMail.

Those apps are massive international data-transporting and storing functions. And the data doesn't go to China. It goes to us. (the West).

In reply to by MCDirtMigger

Zerogenous_Zone Stu Elsample Wed, 06/06/2018 - 10:17 Permalink

agreed...but there are still some expectations of privacy...and just because an 'I Agree' click on a web 'contract' states what they 'may' do with your info, illegal verbiage in the contract is non-binding...

 

so...

 

class-action lawsuit for all fakebook looneys to get their 'share' of the millions Zuck-cuck received from 'localized directed marketing' scam should be at least 51% of his ill-gotten wealth...

 

or (((they))) will stretch it out over a long enough period of time to wait for the snowflake attention span to dwindle to a bad dream...let's say about a week?!  ugh...

 

zerogenous_zone

In reply to by Stu Elsample

janus Adolfsteinbergovitch Wed, 06/06/2018 - 06:26 Permalink

the only solution is to make companies like facebook, google, twitter, etc. public.

as penalty for these treasonous and wildly unscrupulous actions, their companies will be seized without compensation...in the interest of national defense, privacy and the protection of Constitutional rights.

zuckercuck needs to go to jail for this mess.

jack dorsey, too.

eric schmit.

all of them...jail time.

janus

In reply to by Adolfsteinbergovitch

Tarzan BritBob Wed, 06/06/2018 - 06:06 Permalink

Zuck is in way over his head.  He was great for the moral of the kids,for marketing, to see a kid "running" a giant Corp. 

But for his handlers to send him up to Congress, to answer legal questions, to explain detailed policies, was a huge mistake. 

He should slink back to Cali and meet with the kids. 

Let the CIA explain their business model for themselves!

In reply to by BritBob

techpriest In Ze No Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:02 Permalink

Highly unlikely as his house is on Kauai and not the main island.
If we're wishing harm, it will more likely come from one of the local brothers who were sued off the their land by Zuckerberg in order to cobble together what is considered a yuuuge parcel for Kauai. IIRC no other billionaire on Kauai has as much land as he does.

In reply to by In Ze No

nmewn NoDebt Wed, 06/06/2018 - 06:47 Permalink

"Facebook's business model:  Sell data to anybody who shows up with money.  It's not complicated."

And its not that hard to do in a world populated by oblivious exhibitionists..."Here's a picture of my new diamond ring!"...and..."Here's me counting out dat money wif muh homies."...and..."Sometimes I could just kill that bitch."

And then they get all indignant and outraged because .gov is busted hoovering up all their metadata...lol.

We may be on the cusp of a really beautiful thing here, one of those turning points in history where the "collective lightbulb" pops on over everyones head when they realize what is being stolen from them and that they do in fact have some expectation of privacy whereby the prevailing "Terms Of Use Policy" is, you have to opt in...not make a concerted effort to opt out.

Hey! Call me an optimist! ;-)

In reply to by NoDebt

Tarzan nmewn Wed, 06/06/2018 - 07:05 Permalink

How long before people wake up to the fact that Facebook, and the whole selfy craze is a CIA police state plot to create a data base for face recognition Technology.

All those trips in the space shuttle, how many of them where to install satellites that can track people by there face, from space?  Was the space shuttle shut down, because the eye in the sky was complete?  I found it very odd back then, when they increased the frequency of launches, just before shut it down suddenly.

All the new phones that require your face to unlock the phone, are for the same reason, to enhance the data base of faces, and fine tune it's accuracy.

In reply to by nmewn

Tarzan Voice of insanity Wed, 06/06/2018 - 06:54 Permalink

In some ways, I hope they continue along this line of Putin interference in the election, and all the other nonsense.

What the Democrats are saying is that Hillary lost because we the people who voted against her were duped by Russia.

Now play that out logically.  The Democrats have cornered themselves into a stance that says they lost because we're all stupid.

This, in so many ways, is their platform, we're all idiots, who haven't understood their wonderful message. 

The globe is warming, that's you stupid people's fault.  The weather is changing, we caused that too. There are poor people, because we're stingy with our money, not paying enough in taxes.  Blacks are poor because we're a racists, women are held down because we're misogynist pigs, we're destroying the environment, we're bigots against illegal immigrants, we want dirty water, dirty air, and children to starve.

Then they claim they just didn't get their message out....

In reply to by Voice of insanity

gwar5 Wed, 06/06/2018 - 06:10 Permalink

FuckBook. Zuckerberg needs to be jailed. 

Zuckerberg is selling human control technology to hostile governments and should be considered a crime against humanity. Pretty soon AI is going to be running it.

Time to break up the tech monopolies into many smaller pieces and regulate them as public utilities. Military/Intel components need to be totally segregated from the public utility side to reverse weaponization of public information. 

 

Don't be evil.

 

Dr. Bonzo Wed, 06/06/2018 - 06:13 Permalink

BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....

It gets better every day. No matter. There are so many chinks working at fuckbook you can't walk down the hallways without stumbling over ten of em. And at least half ship data back home voluntarily in exchange for commie party favors.

The joke's on us.

The West is being lead by the most incompetent generation of leaders in recorded history.

They must all hang.