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How safe is your data – Facebook shares user data with phone makers

How safe is your data – Facebook shares user data with phone makers

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has shown that Facebook harvest, shares and profits from users’ data. A new report demonstrates that the issue with Facebook’s data collection goes much deeper than that.

According to the recent news, Facebook shares users’ data with phone makers, sharing it with at least 60 different device producers, including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and many others. It turns out Facebook has been sharing user details for over a decade, despite users’ privacy and data sharing preferences.

How does Facebook go around the necessary user consent in sharing their data? It has simply categorized these phone producers as partners rather than third parties, which allows Facebook to share data with them without explicit permission.

In addition, Facebook shares the data of users’ friends, even after having claimed that it had cut off third-party access to friends’ data back in 2015. However, since device makers are not considered third parties, users friends’ data is shared.

Where does the data go?

“Once the data is collected, it can be used for various purposes,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.

“Even though people think that harvested data is harmless, as it’s mostly used for targeted ads or service improvement, collecting information makes it very vulnerable. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has shown us that data could be used for sophisticated political targeting campaigns. There are many other ways how data can be abused, especially if it ends up in the wrong hands,” he added.

Deleting Facebook app from one’s phone might prevent Facebook from sharing one’s data, but only if the phone is new and the person has never logged into the app in the first place. Even doing that might not stop the data collection, because everyone’s data is already probably shared through their friends who are on Facebook.

Therefore, those who really want to protect their data, should quit Facebook – and if they are in Europe, they can also request to delete all their data and to share the list of third parties with which one’s data was ever shared.

Other online security tips include keeping software up to date, not clicking on suspicious links and using password management services. It’s also advisable to connect to a VPN when going online, as VPN encrypts users’ online activity into a secure tunnel.

About The Author

SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.