This Is How Facebook Collects Your Data... Even If You Don’t Have An Account

This Is How Facebook Collects Your Data... Even If You Don’t Have An Account

The social network, already much criticised in 2018, may have recovered the personal data of many internet users who didn’t even have a Facebook account, as revealed by an alarming report published by the British NGO Privacy International.

After a complicated 2018, Facebook began 2019 with a new controversy concerning the personal data of internet users. According to a report by the UK NGO Privacy International on Saturday, Dec. 29th, at the 35th Congress of the Chaos Computer Club (a group of very influential hackers in Europe), the social network is able to ‘steal’ data from Android smartphone owners... even if they are not registered on Facebook.

This data is ‘sucked up’ via Android applications that retrieve and disseminate data from their users without any form of consent. According to researchers Frederike Kaltheuner and Christopher Weatherhead, more than twenty applications, downloaded between 10 million and 500 million times, are involved in this case.

Shazam, Kayak, Spotify…

Among these offending applications, you can see some very well known names, such as the Kayak travel search engine, but also Spotify, Shazam, Indeed... In fact, the data is collected by Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK). Once assembled, they make it possible to build the profile of the user with formidable accuracy. Sex, phone model, interests, behaviours, habits... All this data is then passed on to the mill.

Knowing about the existence of this report a few days before its publication by Privacy International, Facebook has already reacted, and claims to have modified its SDK to force developers to ask users’ permission to send data. Definitely a case to follow…

• Rob Mitchell
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