'Sure Looks Like Zuckerberg Lied to Congress': Ranking Democrat Hits Facebook Report

Posted June 05, 2018

Zuckerberg appeared before congress in April following the revelation that Facebook had exposed data on up to 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, a research firm that worked with the Trump campaign.

In this new scandal, it was revealed that the device makers had access to the data of users and their friends who believed they had secured their information. The reporters found that the app not only accessed extensive information about the reporter's profile, it got ahold of similar data from his friends, and from friends of friends, too. "You're only bringing your own information and you're able to connect with friends who have also authorized that app directly".

The problem in this case is that Facebook has exempted these manufacturers from its new policy of preventing third party access to user data.

Facebook says it made deals with around 60 companies, from Apple, Amazon and Blackberry to HTC, Microsoft and Samsung, to "recreate Facebook-like experiences" on their devices. "To bridge this gap, we built a set of device-integrated APIs that allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems".

"Think of an API as a side door that allows you to retrieve data from a guarded room".

According to the report, the issues "raise concerns about the company's privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission". "And if we find that someone improperly used data, we're going to ban them from Facebook and tell everyone affected", he added. The politicians didn't confine their inquiry to device sharing, either - they wanted to know what other data sharing methods Facebook had. The data transfer was based on a connection the phone's software was allowed to make, directly to Facebook's information.

What does this have to do with Cambridge Analytica?

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The FTC declined to comment.

The announcement by the company comes amid a growing focus on protecting privacy following a Facebook data scandal and new rules being enforced by the European Union for online services.

As an example, Microsoft entered a partnership with Facebook in 2008 that enabled users of Microsoft products to add contacts and friends and receive notifications via Facebook.

Beyond cookies, Apple is also pouring cold water on device fingerprinting, a process by which advertisers or data companies collect unique characteristics like specific font types that have been installed, screen dimensions and plugins in order to triangulate identity as a user browses the web. And while some of the decade-old agreements may still be in effect, they're not as useful nowadays when Facebook directly creates and controls the apps that go onto your smartphone.

"Partners could not integrate the user's Facebook features with their devices without the user's permission".

However, the deals are still in place, and the companies could - in theory - access your and your friends' data in ways that most any person would consider violations of privacy.

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