back to article Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage

It was the weekend that had it all: promiscuous permissions dragged Google into the Facebook privacy row, Facebook apologised again while at the same time denying anything's wrong with its Android apps, and Tim Cook was totally not smug when he chimed into the privacy debate. It's long been understood by people in tech (less …

  1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Facepalm

    well

    makes me glad that , dispite farceboks nagging , that I never installed that messenger app...

    But if you're wondering how GCHQ/NSA etc etc got hold of your data... there you go........ you gave it to FB who then gave it to them

    And to quote an Asimov story "Welcome to the goldfish bowl gentlemen"

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: well

      You didn't install the Messenger app, but did you install the Facebook app or was it included with the phone and not uninstallable?

      I bet the first thing it did was upload your phone number even if you had the foresight to disable/uninstall it, and if you decided to leave it there but not log in it's probably still adding to your dark profile, as they call it.

      I think it's time each and every EU privacy regulator rip Zuck a new one, the day after the GDPR comes in, except the Irish one of course who knows which side his bread is buttered.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: well

        You didn't install the Messenger app, but did you install the Facebook app or was it included with the phone and not uninstallable?

        Doesn't matter. If people you know use Facebook, etc then the slurpage happens there. Facebook collects data on you from their account activity, without you ever agreeing to it.

        For interest Google does the same thing with caller ID on Android, contacts lists. You call people with an Android mobiles, Google know who you are. Who you call, etc, all without you ever giving Google permission.

        The tech companies have the opinion that data in contacts lists, caller ID, etc, is personal and therefore covered by a single EULA signed up to by a single user. In fact it's shared data, and in law the user agreeing to the EULA has to seek the permission of someone in their contact list before letting Facebook inside.

        1. rmason Silver badge

          Re: well

          As above.

          Even if *you* manage to never click "yes" to any of the nice sounding questions that are actually asking your permission to do this, it only takes a single person with your name and number saved in *their* phone to click "yes" and bang.

          They have your name, number and texts/calls etc and the profile building can commence.

          https://twitter.com/EmmaKennedy/status/977811813478883328

          They get *everything*.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: well

          > For interest Google does the same thing with caller ID on Android, contacts lists

          Which is why it's got to the point where one of the first things you do when configuring a new Android device is uninstall the built-in, non-AOSP proprietary Google dialler that they all must come with these days and install an open source replacement (or if you're lucky, one clandestinely provided by your phone's manufacturer. I couldn't possibly comment). Same goes for the SMS app. Never mind *not* having a Gurgle account at all, much less one configured on the phone.

          Wild Fucking West this is.

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: well

        I think it's time each and every EU privacy regulator rip Zuck a new one, the day after the GDPR comes in

        Absolutely.

        I know so many farcebook users, some of them a little elderly and prone to just clicking "Ok" to stuff, that they're almost guaranteed to hold data, or metadata, about me despite my never having an account with them.

        The day GDPR comes into force, I'm going to insist they delete all of it - physically rather than logically, and the moment they get done telling me metadata isn't data I'll be filing a complaint with the ICO.

        Perhaps everyone in the UK, or even the EU, could target the same data slurper with requests on the same day. They'd have to spend so much money trying to comply or else drop most of their database that it'd put the fear of go into them - 2% of revenue fines multiplied by 28 nations is going to hurt like hell.

        1. Alistair Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: well

          They'd have to spend so much money trying to comply or else drop most of their database that it'd put the fear of go into them -

          Whilst it is often quite a challenge when playing against a certain compatriot, I would not say that I fear the go. I rather enjoy our games.

      3. Joseph Haig

        Re: well

        "You didn't install the Messenger app, but did you install the Facebook app or was it included with the phone and not uninstallable?"

        If you uninstall the Facebook app (as I did when it made my phone too unresponsive) you find that the mobile web site is almost fully functional so there is really no need for an app.

        The one thing that doesn't work is private messages. It used to work, so there is no technical reason why it shouldn't any more, but if you try to view messages you now get automatically directed to the Google Play store. It is almost as if Facebook needs the app to do more than just display some text and pictures on your screen.

        I, too, am glad I never gave in to the nagging although my reason is that I want a phone that I can actually use.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: I assume

          Private messages is using some form of end to end encryption they have not figured out on the webpage but have for the app?

          1. teknopaul Bronze badge

            Re: I assume

            Bollocks.

        2. Wulfhaven

          Re: well

          It works, it's just disabled on cellphones. Try using m.facebook.com on a normal browser, and the messaging works. It's just a *very* thinly veiled way to foist their dataslurpers on people.

          1. Joseph Haig

            Re: well

            "It works, it's just disabled on cellphones."

            Quite. When I said it no longer worked I meant it was blocked. There was a period when you got the annoying message asking you to install the app but it would still let you through to the messages but that option disappeared eventually.

            And your suggestion to try m.facebook.com gave me the idea to try using a non-default browser. It turns out that with the Opera Mini browser I can now access messages again via the web app.

            1. Kimo

              Re: well

              You can check "Load desktop site" to get messages on the web page instead of the app.

        3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: well

          There's "Facebook Lite" and "Messenger Lite" apps, which take up much less resources on your phone.

          I use "Messenger Lite" but not "Facebook Lite".

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: well

            Go and check the permissions. It's anything but Lite.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Facebook Lite apps

            Who writes these “Lite” apps?

            If they are unofficial apps by third party developers, who’s to know that they aren’t Trojan horses containing hidden ad trackers or other malware?

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Facebook Lite apps

              "If they are unofficial apps by third party developers, who’s to know that they aren’t Trojan horses containing hidden ad trackers or other malware?"

              So that sounds like the official app to me.

      4. Jim 59

        Re: well

        LOL

        Dan 55: I think it's time each and every EU privacy regulator rip Zuck a new one...

        1. jason 7

          Re: well

          Yeah if HM.GOV can't get these folks to even pay their tax, they are hardly likely to be worried about users data.

          GDPR is the biggest pile of BS since WEB2.0

    2. shedied
      Facepalm

      Re: well, not exactly gave it to them

      The data was, like, just sitting there, in a quiet stack on the desk/server, until the nosey visitor had to ask. Ahem, you seem to have everything organised on your desk, and clutter-free, I might add. Why is there a stack of continuous forms on the table; don't your tech staff ever work on these dreadful things?

      It's just useless trivia. Sometimes I wonder how we wind up with these things, truth be told

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: well

      Precisely.

      The (Android) facebook app was plainly written by fuckwits who had no idea how to write any form of application - which almost certainly explains why they never got HTML5 features working either and the performance of the application sucked every shade of egg. What was especially annoying was that the likes of Samsung pre-installed the PoS and marked it as an unremovable system application.

      As for the facebook messenger app - the data slurp was so pathetically ridiculous that I never installed it on a mobile phone. On a WiFi only tablet, yes, but not on a phone. Bloody thing barely works now, of course, because Facebook insist on SMS verifications for nonsense stuff and I am *not* about to give them mobiles numbers voluntarily.

      Facebook have also "cleverly" managed to bork their web pages such that it is impossible to write anything or send a message using with them and to instead have to use an app. Use a different browser (with a desktop like UA identifier) and suddenly everything works fine on a mobile device. Who'd have thought eh???

      All of which is moot, of course, because conversation is by definition between two parties and all it takes is some real life individual to have my personal details stored and to use one of the facebook apps and my details are now hoovered up regardless of my consent.

      The writers of GDPR were (mostly) a wise bunch. Sorry left pondians but your regime, that treats all personal data as the sole property of whatever corporate entity happens to have a copy of it, is going to have a rough time shortly...

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: well

        What was especially annoying was that the likes of Samsung pre-installed the PoS and marked it as an unremovable system application.

        The very idea that manufacturers and cell providers can build in apps marked as "uninstallable/system" that are not, in fact, system-critical apps should be cause to apply severe spankings (and not in a good way*) upon all responsible for those decisions.

        *(think Margaret Thatcher or Janet Reno as opposed to Megurine Luka)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: well

        "Sorry left pondians but your regime, that treats all personal data as the sole property of whatever corporate entity happens to have a copy of it, is going to have a rough time shortly."

        Please don't apologise.

    4. Paper
      Facepalm

      Re: well

      Fortunately I was late to the party with installing it, and it had already transitioned to the individual permission Android model, so I clicked Deny to allowing it to have access to my contacts. Similarly I deleted my number from Facebook (I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to be so silly).

  2. Mitoo Bobsworth

    I'm (not) sorry

    Zucks "we don't deserve..." apology was 100% unconvincing.

    If he wants to slurp data about my guitar parts buying preferences or curse word count per sentence, he's welcome to it. I'm sure the authorities would be riveted by my ability to buy a pair of Gretch filtertron pickups for a "fucking bargain"

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: I'm (not) sorry

      Thank you.

      We are currently considering the possibility that 'a pair of Gretch filtertron pickups' might be code for 'a pair of nuclear hunter-killer submarines', and that "fucking bargain" might mean "have left Faslane"

      signed,

      The Authorities

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: I'm (not) sorry

      "If he wants to slurp data about my guitar parts buying preferences or curse word count per sentence, he's welcome to it. I'm sure the authorities would be riveted by my ability to buy a pair of Gretch filtertron pickups for a "fucking bargain""

      You, people like you, are the problem.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Snorlax
          Black Helicopters

          Re: I'm (not) sorry

          @All gods are bastards:"I have already informed my family and friends that SMS and phone communications from non-whitelisted mobile numbers will be ignored. Numbers are whitelisted only when I have extracted a commitment from its owner not to run spyware on their device

          I've heard some bonkers, mental shit in my time but that takes the biscuit...

        2. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: I'm (not) sorry

          "I have already informed my family and friends that SMS and phone communications from non-whitelisted mobile numbers will be ignored. Numbers are whitelisted only when I have extracted a commitment from its owner not to run spyware on their device - and when I trust the owner to keep their word. If they're not happy to do this, they will need to get used to calling me from a landline, or using plain, old e-mail."

          It doesn't matter if you whitelist them or not. The person at the other end of the call - irrespective of whether you answer or ignore it - has your number. They're using it to call you. If it's in their mobile phone, and they're using the Facebook or Messenger app, bang, Facebook has your number - and depending on what else the caller has in their phone regarding you, they have that as well.

          All you are achieving is for Facebook's data to show that these people called you, but didn't get an answer, rather than did.

          As Snorlax said - that's bonkers, mental shit that takes the biscuit. And its a pointless biscuit at that.

          The best you can do, until the regulators and enforcers wake up and take some proper action*, is try to limit what the likes of Facebook can collate about you - strict cookie management, different email addresses for different log-ins, and so on. They'll still garner shit about you, but won't be able to piece it all together and associate it with a single identity**.

          In most cases, anyway. (Which I think I'll try to write in more detail about this coming weekend).

          * I've seen elsewhere comments to the effect that they need to "nip this in the bud" - but I think we're a long way past that.

          ** Just for a laugh, I downloaded my own data from Facebook this morning - the file was laughably empty. I'm sure they have more data on me than what is there, but haven't been able to link it to my account.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. VinceH Silver badge

              Re: I'm (not) sorry

              "Incorrect: When calls and messages go unanswered - and they will - those who really need to contact me will either comply with my policy, or not bother contacting me."

              Most decidely NOT incorrect - not if you read what I said and understood the point I was making.

              In order to call you, unless these people are communicating over the telecoms network using psychic abilities, they are putting your number in their phone.

              If they are using Facebook's rubbish on said phone, Facebook is slurping that information - and If they put other information about you in their phone along with that number, Facebook is slurping that information as well.

              Data is being slurped about you whether you like it or not, and all you appear to be doing is burying your head in the sand.

              If you'd said you refused to give people your number without said commitment, that would be a different matter - but you didn't; you simply said their calls would go unanswered.

              "On the other hand, tolerating (and even shrugging off) the digital equivalent of a Stasi informant network is, in my own opinion, going full on batshit insane."

              Yes, those people who tolerate or shrug this off - and I include those trying to convince themselves they are some way immune to it in that - are indeed batshit insane.

              1. Bill Gray

                Re: I'm (not) sorry

                I've never had a Facebook account. But people have given Facebook my e-mail address so that FB can send me an invitation to "be their friend". I've long assumed that FB therefore knows a long list of people who wanted me to "be their friend" and has done their best to profile me based on my supposed associates.

                Lacking a FB account, though, I have no way to control what FB knows about me, or even to _know_ what FB knows about me. In some ways, having an account would actually give me more control over the situation than I currently have. Which, I need hardly add, is bonkers.

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: I'm (not) sorry

                  > But people have given Facebook my e-mail address so that FB can send me an invitation to "be their friend".

                  People have given mine to LinkedIn.

                  And it NEVER stops bugging you about it.

              2. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. aelking

                  Re: I'm (not) sorry

                  I don't know if you are being purposely antagonistic or bot, so appologies this isnt meant to be rude, I would just like some clarification on the steps that are occuring.

                  1. Someone asks for your number

                  2. You give it to them

                  2a. Facebook takes it from them

                  3. You take their number

                  4. If they don't have facebook installed then you whitelist else blacklist

                  5. They call you

                  5a. Facebook takes you number

                  6. You answer based upon their response to having facebook installed

                  I hope I have the steps correct.

                  Please le me know if I am wrong.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I'm (not) sorry

                    > I don't know if you are being purposely antagonistic or bot, so appologies this isnt meant to be rude, I would just like some clarification on the steps that are occuring.

                    Good try, now consider this scenario:

                    1. Someone has Mr Whitelist's number

                    2. This someone gives Mr Whitelist's number to someone else

                    3. That someone else records Mr Whitelists number, name and whatever other details they find appropriate in their contacts list.

                    ...

                    You see where I am going from here?

                    I am actually one of those who has never had a Farcebook account or similar time wasters¹ and a) post-GDPR plus b) when I have a bit of time I shall be addressing their Data Protection Officer a request for my personal data and the relevant justifications and legal basis for having it, as is required under the GDPR. Methinks some fun will be had.

                    ¹ Says I posting on El Reg, I know.

                  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: I'm (not) sorry

                    "1. Someone asks for your number

                    2. You give it to them"

                    AFAICT from the OP it's more like:

                    1. Someone asks for his number

                    2. He asks them about the security of their phone

                    3. Depending on the answer he gives them the number

                    else he doesn't.

                    1. VinceH Silver badge

                      Re: I'm (not) sorry

                      No, read the original post again - their response about the security of their phone is how he decides whether or not to answer their calls. Otherwise they have to use a landline or email.

                      Fair enough, he's now explained his logic - but I still consider it to be ignoring the problem.

                2. VinceH Silver badge

                  Re: I'm (not) sorry

                  [I referred to 'people' telephoning 'All gods are bastards']

                  "But I didn't, did I? I specifically said "family" and "friends" - and, once, even "contacts" - all of which implies people who ALREADY have my telephone number - not "people"."

                  Irrelevant. Your friends, family, contacts (who, I might point out, all fall under the category of 'people') have your number already - fair enough - but if you're refusing to answer the phone to even one them because you haven't whitelisted them (because they haven't given you the assurance you insist on), then the damage is already done.

                  Each time you receive a phone call from a number that you haven't whitelisted, you know - no matter how much you're trying to deny it - that the person calling you may be using a Facebook app or whatever, and that your number (along with any other details they have about you on their phone) is being slurped.

                  Otherwise, you would have whitelisted them.

                  TBH, what I think is that you came up with an idea for slurp-avoidance that you thought would make you look really clever, and now you're digging a big hole for yourself trying to deny a massive flaw in it.

                  I'm tin foil hat careful, but I'm also wise enough to know that Facebook will still have data about me beyond what's actually in my account, because 'other people'. I'm not happy about it - I've never been happy about it - but I'm not hiding behind a faux shield, pretending to myself that it hasn't happened.

                  Edit: But I like tfb's thinking! :)

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I'm (not) sorry

                    > Your friends, family, contacts (who, I might point out, all fall under the category of 'people')

                    Aren't you making a bit of a logical jump there? Especially with the sorts that populate these comment sections. :-)

                    (more seriously, I have entries in my address book for both legal persons and machines, neither of which are "people")

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. tfb Silver badge

            Re: I'm (not) sorry

            All you are achieving is for Facebook's data to show that these people called you, but didn't get an answer, rather than did.

            That's exactly the same thing that would happen if you were, for instance, dead (so long as you never call the people concerned). I would be quite pleased if Facebook decided I was dead as they dead people are uninteresting to advertisers.

            So that looks like a result to me.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm (not) sorry

          > I have already informed my family and friends that SMS and phone communications from non-whitelisted mobile numbers will be ignored.

          What took you so long? Never since caller ID came into existence have I picked up a call that did not come from a recognised party.

          Or a call from a recognised party, when that party was my boss (but I digress).

          Still, I'm not sure what this has to do with third-party data collection, since all it takes is for someone to know your number and write your name next to it in their contacts list, as you can see from the screenshots in the twitter link.

  3. Martin an gof Silver badge

    Has it gone?

    The question is, even if people delete their profiles and sign out, is the data gone? I'm sure it was Facebook's terms and conditions that I read some years ago where they claimed something along the lines of a perpetual, free, permissive licence to use anything you had uploaded, in whatever manner they chose. The implication was that even if you left the service, they could still use your pictures of aunty Viv for - I dunno - promotional material or something, and I'm sure the same applies to this metadata that "you" are uploading, simply by using the app.

    This was one of the things that made me certain that I wanted no part of it all those years ago. Being part of it anyway, via third parties, is more than a bit annoying.

    M.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has it gone?

      The question is, even if people delete their profiles and sign out, is the data gone?

      Sure!*

      *text that follows is too small and densely legal for understanding. If this was an ad on TV it would be read in 0.03 seconds

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Has it gone?

      As a non-FB user, can I request that they delete my phone number(s) from their systems?

      I suppose the problem is that to do this, I have to give them my details and it's GOTO 10...

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Has it gone?

        I suppose the problem is that to do this, I have to give them my details and it's GOTO 10...

        This is like the problem I have with the Google "privacy" thing that keeps popping up, even though I've answered the questions several times and I do not delete cookies from Google. "Oh," they say, "if you log in with Google we will remember your choices."

        Well, ummm... why do you think I'm turning off all the tracking things anyway? I do not want to be tracked by Google, that's what my answers to those questions mean, not, "please don't track me using these methods, but I will log in anyway so that you can track me by other means"!

        </rant>

        M.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Has it gone?

          > This is like the problem I have with the Google "privacy" thing that keeps popping up

          The one that you haven't blocked with uBlock Origin or whatever it is that you use?

  4. SVV Silver badge

    This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

    It's bad enough that the old Ts&Cs trick enabled them to grab data on outgoing calls and texts if the user gave permission inadvertantly by installing the FB app. But if they've slurped data on INCOMING texts and calls and used that to build up data graphs on the phone numbers who made the calls and texts (who may well have not installed FB's app and therefore not given permission) then their goose is truly cooked according to some European countries' privacy laws.

    And by being on Android, this is what now drags Google into the whole mess, via its' idea of privacy controls which is basaically the same crap too.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

      "could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm"

      Am I supposed to be sorry?

      1. shedied

        Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

        Don't take out any full page ads just yet.; the ball, as it were, is in the Zuckman's court.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

      Apparently the Whistleblowers and their their QCs will be holding a press conference later today.

      I look foward to hearing about their latest revelations on Channel 4 News tonight,

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

      News for you: most people don't care and won't do anything. This is why regulation is required. Roll on GDPR.

    4. Roml0k

      Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

      > But if they've slurped data on INCOMING texts and calls and used that to build up data graphs on the phone numbers who made the calls and texts (who may well have not installed FB's app and therefore not given permission) then their goose is truly cooked according to some European countries' privacy laws.

      I wonder if this kind of slurping doesn't also run afoul of California wiretapping law, which requires consent from all parties involved. IIRC, a 2015 ruling affirmed that collecting metadata without all-party consent can also count as a breach of wiretapping laws.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

        "a breach of wiretapping laws."

        So what.

        Traditional laws, courts, etc. apparently don't apply to modern corporate executives and their legal eagles, and the organisations that fund them. The US Government of the day doesn't seem to care much at all, and the EU (one of the few governmental organisations big enough to matter) doesn't seem to be able to keep up, even though it does occasionally show signs of understanding and caring about the corporate responsibility issues.

        Fix that generic problem, and lots of things (not just Facebook and data privacy) might magically start to improve.

        Meanwhile, maybe it's time to take a more direct, less inhibited, approach to the executives whose names are in the frame. Constructive and plausible suggestions welcome. E.g. did things like #METOO work, or was it a distraction, or somewhere in between?

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          @AC ...Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

          You are confusing criminal vs civil complaints.

          W.R.T criminal complaints... they US Government will charge them and the company will pay out a fine as part of a settlement.

          W.R.T. civil... that's where the company can get soaked. Litigation costs will be in the millions before any chance of getting near settlement talks.

          What FB doesn't want is for the lawsuits to peel back their operations during discovery. This is when the lawyers get to see what really goes on and how much they know as well as what they do with this information. This is Zuck's worst nightmare.

          One other question will also be answered... everyone is enraged at CA getting this data and supposedly using it w Trump's campaign. But what about Clinton and Obama campaigns.

          Then there's the research in to seeing if they can effect people's mental state thru what news they filter in their news feed... All of that will come out.

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @Roml0k ... Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

        Grey area. Most likely nothing since they didn't 'eavesdrop' on the call and the US Supreme Court has identified the metadata as not being private.

        The real issue is that they slurped data from and about people who did not agree to their T's & C's as well as one other small fact. They could have been spying on minors which brings in a whole nother slew of laws and potential lawsuits.

        To your point... they could face lawsuits over the slurping because those who installed the App were not aware of the level and details that FB was slurping.

        You can bet there will be some serious big dollar lawsuits against FB.

    5. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Mushroom

      @SVV Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

      The data slurp included Facebook app users' interactions with others who are not on Facebook – meaning people who never gave the Social Network™ permission for anything are probably profiled in its data troves anyway.

      To your point, yes this could do FB serious harm. If the lawyers can find a lead plaintiff. In the US as well as around the world.

      Keep in mind, the fact that FB also has java scripts running on many news sites slurping details about you. This is quasi grey space because you may have allowed your data to be slurped by these sites under the T's and C's of those sites.

      This is most likely why Zuck is trying to go all apologetic because they just ended up in a world of hurt.

      How would you, as a non user of FB find out what they have slurped about you?

      And every company that uses FB scripts will also become suspect.

      Its a huge potential mess...

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        @Ian Michael Gumby -- Re: @SVV This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

        Its a huge potential mess...

        Yaaaaaay MESS!

        Go, Mess, Go!

        Go, Mess, Go!!

        Go, Mess, Go!!!

        ...

        It's March Madness time here on this side of the Pond, so....

        1. SMITCH79

          Re: @Ian Michael Gumby -- @SVV This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

          Weirdly I read your comment in style of Jez from Peep Show.

          Yaaaay Mess!

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: This is what could really do Zuckwit and his company serious harm

      Or hilarious harm depending on your point of view.

  5. D Moss Esq

    “The ability of anyone to know ... who your contacts are, who their contacts are... - from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist”, Cook said.

    Really?

    Then how come just about the only way to transfer your contacts from an old iPhone to a new one is via the cloud?

    Ditto other brands. All your contacts being uploaded to GMail. Or to LinkedIn.

    1. Hugh McIntyre

      Re: "only way to transfer your contacts from an old iPhone to a new one is via the cloud"

      Local password protected backup -> restore new iPhone from local backup has worked every time for me. No need for cloud, and all the same contacts are present with no need for a cloud backup for this case at least.

      Now iCloud is useful to keep multiple devices in sync, but even then there's no reason why this cannot be just a per-user backup rather than being data-mined and combined with other users' contacts, which I suspect was Tim Cook's comment.

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: "only way to transfer your contacts from an old iPhone to a new one is via the cloud"

        there's no reason why this cannot be just a per-user backup rather than being data-mined and combined with other users' contacts

        I get sick of people drawing a false equivalency between Apple's and Google's use of user data.

        There's a difference between "data storing" and "data mining." Apple has repeatedly stated that monetizing user data is not part of their business model. Compare that to Google, where it is their entire business model.

        iOS does much more of its processing on the device, vs. Android where it's almost all done in the cloud. For example, when an iOS calendar reminder shows you the estimated travel time to the event location, that integration is performed locally on the device by iOS. Even if you never set up iCloud, stuff like that will still work.

        On Android, that work is done by Google's servers. There's no technical reason why Android needs to send everything to Google to do that, of course; the devices are perfectly capable. It goes to the cloud so that Google can use it to build a surveillance database of everything you do online and offline show you relevant ads.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: "only way to transfer your contacts from an old iPhone to a new one is via the cloud"

          Apple has repeatedly stated that monetizing user data is not part of their business model.

          As George Leroy Tirebiter once famously said:

          And you can trust me, 'cuz I'm always right, and I never lie.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Then how come just about the only way to transfer your contacts from an old iPhone to a new one is via the cloud?

      Ditto other brands. All your contacts being uploaded to GMail. Or to LinkedIn.

      In Android you have the option of, Contacts... Import/Export... Export to .vcf file... select all... Save. This puts all your contacts in a file on your local storage from where you can upload them into your computer (useful also for backup), or simply send them directly via Bluetooth to another phone.

      If you are going to do the latter then under the Import/Export menu there's another option "Share All Contacts". Again, select all, then choose how. My phone offers to share via Messaging, KDE Connect or Bluetooth.

      I've done this a couple of times recently, for example when un-borking my phone which was on an older version of Cyanogenmod and needed (essentially) wiping to install the latest LineageOS. Eldest son had a few more problems migrating from an old Nokia dumphone to a newer smartphone, but only because the Nokia couldn't save a .vcf file or send more than one contact at once. Instead he sent each of his 30-odd contacts individually, which also gave him the opportunity to prune old or duplicate entries.

      In neither case did the contacts ever leave the privacy of our own house.

      As an aside, when setting up new phone with eldest son, 90% of the setup (and disabling of certain things) was done before the SIM was inserted. Yes, WiFi was active, but maybe this step helped prevent a certain amount of data leakage.

      M.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        But let's face it, Android's local backup is still clunky, over-complicated, and incomplete. That's your contacts sorted out, what about the rest?

        You should just be able to give a local (S)FTP/SMB drive and from then on it should be as easy and automatic as Google's cloud backup. But it isn't. Odd, that.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          (Android local backup)

          Yeah, I hate the way the phone won't connect as mass storage, but for most purposes there are work-arounds. In particular the aforementioned KDE Connect (I am aware that other similar apps are available) allows you to browse the phone's storage over WiFi.

          M.

    3. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      It isn't.

      You can still use iTunes to do a full backup and then restore them to another phone. I did it just a few weeks ago.

    4. Starkoman

      Completely encrypted

      Q: “How come just about the only way to transfer your contacts from an old iPhone to a new one is via the cloud?”

      A: Apples’ cloud is, basically, a back-up of your iPhone and the best way to customise your new iPhone to how you like it. It's completely encrypted too. Even Apple don't have a ‘key’ to read your private stuff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ITunes completely encrypted?

        “Citation needed” (if you don’t mind, please).

        I know that Apple care about privacy from an almost mirror opposite perspective to Google, but, post-Snowden, I’m inclined just not to trust iCloud: has anyone done any deep digging to verify one way or another whether or not data stored in iCloud is definitely strongly encrypted in such a way that Apple (or anyone else other than the rightful owner) cannot decrypt it?

  6. jake Silver badge

    Six comments and I get to be the first?

    Told ya so! Neener!

    Fucking sheeple. If it's shiny, their brains turn off ...

    Oh, and by the way, so does Google, twitter, instagram, yadda yadda ...

  7. Wade Burchette

    Most people do not care

    People take to the streets to protest the NSA and many other government agencies slurping up all their personal information while at the same time handing all that same information over to Facebook, Twitter, et al. People would never allow the police to place a microphone in their home but will pay Amazon and Google to do the same thing. The fact is the majority of people do not care. They will be more than happy to give all their personal information to an entity that wants to know everything about them so long as they provided something for free. Facebook, Twitter, Windows 10, and such may not cost money; that does not mean it is free.

    Well, I do care. And when people ask me why I do not use Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or anything like that, I always ask them "Why would someone like me not be on that? What do I know that you don't?"

    1. JakeMS

      Re: Most people do not care

      I give it a month since all this information is released before sheeple will go back to old habits using Facebook like they knew nothing about this again. We already knew before hand just from their Terms of Service and Privacy(Ha!) Policy.

      People didn't care then and people won't care again in the future. They'll just brush it off like it's false like they have done for years.

      Once this is no longer in the news, everyone will return to using Facebook like it never happened.

      Sad but true.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Most people do not care

        Well, I guess we have to take this opportunity to get people delete their Facebook account account and apps. If they won't do that, at the very least uninstall/deactivate Facebook apps and install Tinfoil, Metal, Hermit or similar so their contacts are safer from the big slurp.

      2. stronk

        Re: Most people do not care

        Most people care, but don't care enough to do what is necessary: delete their Facebook account and remove all data.

        The reason they don't care enough? I may speak only for myself, but to me Facebook provides services that are irreplaceable. Fundamentally, it's a near-monopoly on users that makes it impossible not to have a Facebook account and still be able to - for example - be efficiently invited to a friend's party, or see your family's holiday photos, or keep up loose contact with distant friends. You lose something tangible with real consequences if you remove yourself from Facebook. There is no paid Facebook option where they don't exploit your data. There's no real alternative to Facebook because nothing has the critical mass of users that Facebook does.

        I haven't deleted my profile because once every few weeks it enables me to do and see things that I would live a more lonely life without.

        One option that should be on the table for regulators: make online social interaction a standardised commoditised function, like email. If I don't mind my data being slurped, I use Gmail. It's 'free', in that my data is recorded and used by Google for profit. If I minded this, I could avoid Gmail and use a paid service from a company with a different business model.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          FAIL

          @stronk -- Re: Most people do not care

          Fundamentally, it's a near-monopoly on users that makes it impossible not to have a Facebook account and still be able to - for example - be efficiently invited to a friend's party, or see your family's holiday photos, or keep up loose contact with distant friends.

          That is the largest pile of horse exhaust I've heard all month (and I live in America, and am constantly bombarded by pronouncements by Der Lügenführer himself)!

          You know, we still have phones (you probably have one in your pocket; perhaps you should learn how to use it to make a phone call someday). And there are actually two kinds of mail systems still in wide use across the planet.

          Anyone who is going to try to persuade me or anyone else with an IQ above room temperature that Faceplant is any kind of monopoly on media for social contact is so full of shit that his/her eyes are guaranteed to be brown.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Most people do not care

          "I may speak only for myself, but to me Facebook provides services that are irreplaceable. Fundamentally, it's a near-monopoly on users that makes it impossible not to have a Facebook account and still be able to - for example - be efficiently invited to a friend's party, or see your family's holiday photos, or keep up loose contact with distant friends."

          People keep saying stuff like this but it's only got that way because you collectively let it happen to you. You can equally collectively change to one or several of the alternatives which you probably also considered irreplaceable in the past and that still remain as viable as they ever were and which those of us who didn't get suck[er]ed in still use. It's up to you to take back control (far more effectively than voting for Brexit did).

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Most people do not care

          There's no real alternative to Facebook because nothing has the critical mass of users that Facebook does.

          Why would the critical mass of users be a main point for you on facebook? Are you trying to collect all the "likes"?

          The main reason for you being on facebook should be your friends and only your friends. If you or your friend go for a different medium (email, snapchat, phone, signal, game chat, irc, irl, El Reg, etc.), then you guys already have a real alternative.

          I haven't deleted my profile because once every few weeks it enables me to do and see things that I would live a more lonely life without.

          So without facebook you'll feel lonely? That's a clear sign that you're addicted to facebook, because that' a withdraw symptom.

          Really. Get the F*ck Out of There. If you truly wanted a less lonely life, then you need to make some real friends outside, or meet your friends irl. Facebook is a medium. It shouldn't be the thing that make you feel lonely when without it.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Most people do not care

            The only reason I created a FaceBook account is that ALL the activist groups I was working with use it to coordinate their activities. Despite me installing several open source alternatives on my server for us all to try out, they still all use FB. Some where actively hostile to my efforts, so there's a few activist groups I'm no longer involved in.

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Most people do not care

      People take to the streets to protest the NSA and many other government agencies slurping up all their personal information while at the same time handing all that same information over to Facebook, Twitter, et al. People would never allow the police to place a microphone in their home but will pay Amazon and Google to do the same thing.

      ^^^ THIS ^^^

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Most people do not care

      "The fact is the majority of people do not care."

      And the majority of people aren't taking to the streets to protest about govt. slurp. There's going to be a strong correlation between the people who care about corporate slurp and those who care about govt slurp.

  8. J.Smith

    Beggar's belief

    I like the quote at the end "Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you."

    I think if I believe hard enough, I just know I'll belong some day, and then He may love me.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Beggar's belief

      I like the quote at the end "Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you."

      I think it needs some background music when you read that... Maybe "Somewhere over the Rainbow"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beggar's belief

        I prefer when I see an elephant fly, from Dumbo.

        It fits!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I believe

      I believe that once CEOs and other similar "entrepreneurs" are seen as being personally and individually responsible for their companies' failures (legal, moral, etc), in the same way as these people are currently seen as being personally and individually responsible for their companies successes (megaprofit => megabonus, miniprofit => megabonus), then things might start to improve for the rest of us.

      It could fix a few other companies besides Facebook too.

      What's not to like?

  9. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Read the fine print

    I'm not obsessed with such things (or have just given up) but the first time I went to install a Facebook app was the last time. I couldn't believe the breadth of the permissions they demanded.

    Seriously, your average malware laden phishing app is less intrusive. Facebook's apps more or less want complete control of your phone - and we know that only Apple and Google are allowed that!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Read the fine print

      "I'm not obsessed with such things (or have just given up) but the first time I went to install a Facebook app was the last time. I couldn't believe the breadth of the permissions they demanded."

      Most all of the "antivirus" apps on the Play Store request every permission under the sun as well and many also contain the Graph API.

  10. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Stop

    You are being watched. The Facebook has a secret system, a machine that spies on you

    John Reese: I never understood why people put all their information on those sites. Used to make our job a lot easier at the CIA.

    Harold Finch: Of course. That's why I created them.

    John Reese: You're telling me you invented online social networking, Finch?

    Harold Finch: The Machine needed more information. People's social graph, their associations. The government had been trying to figure it out for years. Turns out most people were happy to volunteer it. Business wound up being quite profitable, too.

    1. Inspector71

      Re: You are being watched. The Facebook has a secret system, a machine that spies on you

      Problem is....it's turning out more like Samaritan in charge rather than The Machine.

  11. Mayday Silver badge
    Trollface

    Dylan McKay?

    Not this guy?

    http://90210.wikia.com/wiki/Dylan_McKay

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Round-one to the people, but Its going to be a long war to reclaim privacy rights

    Big Tech still has a lot of politicians in its pocket. Dodging paying tax shows their clout, despite so many broke governments. Plus politicians won't turn their backs on corporations AKA their benefactors, unlike the people. Plus, in the case of Ireland the whole country, from legislators to politicians to workers, are a captive audience for US tech giants!

    What this shows though, is that the mainstream media is finished being a cheerleader for Big-Tech at their own expense. This only took a decade of diminishing returns and their own near extinction to happen. But anyway, what this shows is that political corruption or interference is a red-light, in a way that the Snowden mass Government spying incident wasn't.

    There's probably disgruntled media involved too who are tired of not being paid but told instead that Big-Tech gets to have a free pass. Think Murdoch and co... Then there's the reluctant media who are just following the herd. They'll be the first to drop out... After that we'll see a clearer picture of what next.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Round-one to the people, but Its going to be a long war to reclaim privacy rights

      Round 1? Come off it, the people have been knocked about for at least 10 rounds and have just received a blow that actually knocked some sense into them. Their corner is frantically applying Vaseline onto their cuts to avoid a stoppage.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Round-one to the people, but Its going to be a long war to reclaim privacy rights

        "Come off it, the people have been knocked about for at least 10 rounds and have just received a blow that actually knocked some sense into a worryingly small number of them"

        FTFY. Sadly. :(

        (Based on my own observations, anyway).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook vs the Federation - Is the future going to be Star-Wars, Star-Trek or Blakes-7?

    Hollywood likes to make reboots of Star-Wars and Star-Trek with pollyannic endings. But I fear we're heading towards a darker Blakes-7 Federation-controlled future.

    Disruptive Vision: Like Banksters studying bonds or the yield curve, Facebook & Google are looking out 20-50-100 years and asking: Why not disrupt everything?! Be the world's storefront... Act as the data broker between every brand, every firm and every human... Hell, just become them all, cut out the rest entirely.

    Its hard for humans vs computers to appreciate this in its entirety, or how drip feeding small bits of personal info over such a long time frame will haunt us. But beyond political interference, imagine zero-transparency or control over the cost of every single thing you buy. That's their vision!

    The media is doing some great reporting right now after years of just parroting Zuck-quotes. But it needs to focus on what Zuck says to investors in conference calls. In particular, look at the Facebook-Experian link and 3rd party data-brokers overall. Investigate how they merge offline & online data!

    Then consider, this is only the beginning. Look at CES 2017/2018. Big tech wants in on everything. Imagine every device and appliance 'phoning home' your juicy personal info, monetization of car tracking is already here.

    Cast a wider net too and look at Microsoft and Windows-10. Its basically Facebook & Google combined! The EU is aware but its not moving fast enough. Linux is a viable alternative, but most users don't know about it, and as long as shops don't offer it, everyone must pay Microsoft to be 'slurped'.

    Unfortunately most people in my circle aren't even aware of what happened in the past week or so. The ones least aware are the ones most buried in WhatsApp - Facebook - Google etc, including my SO! At a guess, 9 out 10 people won't change their habits at all. Change will probably only come from those who fear having their power taken away, namely politicians.

    Big Tech has shown just how dangerous it really is... Welcome to surveillance capitalism folks. What big tech is doing is colonization on a digital level. Its time to realize that 'We are the Native Peoples now'!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be the world's storefront.

      And over at Amazon, a certain Mr Bezos blows his top.

      "That's my patch, keep off!"

      Now there is talk of the EU considering breaking up Google. Bring it on. Can't come a day too soon.

      Close down FB , Twitter etc while you are at it.

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Facebook vs the Federation - Is the future going to be Star-Wars, Star-Trek or Blakes-7?

      Try Ready Player One.

      The baddies are Facebook.

  14. I3N
    Flame

    Cook said what ...

    in China, no less.

    Let me know when Cook offers Roy Jones a job.

    Thought the purpose of killing the chicken was to scare the monkey ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cook said what ...

      I thought that as well. There's no privacy protections in China. WeChat has even more data on their users than Facebook.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Android 6.0 / Facebook/ 3rd party apps

    What I found interesting was that some Android devices that came with the Facebook app already installed had two other Facebook related apps pushed on to the devices after updating to Android Marshmallow.

    If I understand correctly the newly installed Facebook apps (Facebook Installer, Facebook Manager) allowed Facebook to update and/or modify the Facebook app independently without needing the Google Play Store.

    Even with the Facebook app uninstalled the two other apps remained and still used data in the background.

    I have also seen apps on third party app stores that are known to host questionable repackaged, modified and resigned apps that also contained Facebook's Graph API.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android 6.0 / Facebook/ 3rd party apps

      What I found interesting was that some Android devices that came with the Facebook app already installed had two other Facebook related apps pushed on to the devices after updating to Android Marshmallow.

      Go to app manager in settings. Force stop app, and disable app. Confirm downgrade back to original app version if it asks. To double verify, get a network monitor app to check. There should be no more facebook.com ports.

      Also if you have a device facebook installed by default, you should really consider buying a new phone and not buy phones from that brand ever. That's because it's very likely that you phone also has other junks installed and that company will do the same for their brand.

  16. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Exodus from Facebook? Seens that wayl

    I saw a new article on news feed that Musk is pulling his companies "sites" from Facebook. And I'm assuming that this is just the beginning... I wonder what the stock price will show this coming week though Facebook is rather secret about how many people they have a) subscribed and active and b) how many have been sucked up by having contact with a Facebook user.?

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Exodus from Facebook? Seens that wayl

      The curious thing is that Elon wasn't aware that SpaceX and Tesla even had Facebook pages. He got those nuked. So far though, Instagram accounts still exist even though it's also part of Facebooks empire.

  17. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I use FB but never, ever the app

    Yes, I use FB to stay in contact with fellow photographers, set meet ups and discuss photography related points and posts pics but the second I pulled up the app from the store and saw that it wanted everything from my phone, that was a step too far and never installed it. I knew what I signed up to FB for, I knew they'd own whatever gave them but I want to at least have some minor control over how much they know about me or can deduce from me. The app leaves no stone unturned and once they have whatever you give them, there's no taking it back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I use FB but never, ever the app

      Still, FB is probably tracking you across many different activities as long as you're logged in and cookies and other data available to your browser(s), albeit somewhat restricted on your phone if the app is not active. While it will process your photos and their metadata, your data, your friends' data, etc. etc.

      While on its surface it may just look a nice board and forum, behind it it's far more evil...

  18. Louis Schreurs BEng

    Is it over?

    or is IT over,

    Like Smith asks Neo

  19. Louis Schreurs BEng

    and whatabout the meta data that is collected by every facebook icon on every webpage???

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Disconnect/Ublock Origin.

  20. Paratrooping Parrot
    Mushroom

    Facebook forcing people to use Messenger on mobile

    I have noticed that Facebook has been forcing us to use Messenger in the mobile. I always used Firefox for Android on the mobile to use Facebook. A few times, especially in the past few months they disabled the messaging part from mobile website forcing people to use their Messaging app. Now I know why.

    I did find an alternative that works, Metal. However, these tactics by Facebook makes me pretty annoyed at them and it seems rather antu-competitive as well. Instagram is another application that I hate, because you cannot use the web browser to upload photos.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Facebook forcing people to use Messenger on mobile

      I never installed it, if someone sent me a message I'd pointedly ignore it for a few days, then login via the web to read it, and reply to them saying I got it but for future reference I don't have messenger and rarely login via the web so they wouldn't try to contact me that way again.

    2. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Facebook forcing people to use Messenger on mobile

      in the past few months they disabled the messaging part from mobile website forcing people to use their Messaging app

      Does this not fall under the computer misuse act ? You have not given FB permission to make such a change ... but it does it.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Facebook forcing people to use Messenger on mobile

        Er, no, it's their website, they can update it however they see fit.

    3. Someone Else Silver badge
      FAIL

      @Paratrooping Parrot -- Re: Facebook forcing people to use Messenger on mobile

      However, these tactics by Facebook makes me pretty annoyed at them and it seems rather antu-competitive as well.

      And yet, you remain....

  21. Da Weezil

    How is the processing of my data legal? Im not a member of arseplace and have never consented to my data being processed by them, the fact that my details exist in other peoples contacts cannot be taken as consent for the social network parasites to process it in any way

    In the UK the ICO seems very mute on this most basic of points.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      In the UK the ICO seems very mute on this most basic of points.

      I think several governments are wishing they could have nationalised FB a while back...

    2. rmason Silver badge

      @Da Weezil

      You gave the users that data.

      The user(s) then gave FB permission to access it. The legality is yet to be tested, but good luck suing your mum/sister/uncle/mate who installed FB messenger thus granting permission. They are the one(s) who handed over your data.

      FB asked and they said "yep".

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "The user(s) then gave FB permission to access it."

        At least in my country - Italy - the law states data can be collected freely for personal use (i.e. address books) - but can't be shared with third parties. IMHO, applications that automatically do so, even if told in their T&C are illegal, because when data are shared with a third party from a personal or public source, the interested people must be notified to be allow to exercise their rights - and that burden is on the entity that acts of on the data for non-personal purposes, in this case Facebook.

        The issue is privacy-protection agencies are not very effective, and mostly run by people with a background in law, not technology, and they don't understand all the deceptive practices data thieves use to gather data behind the regulator back.

        I think till now companies like Facebook were mostly see as a toy where the boys and girls played - hope now many eyes will open and brains unlock, and regulators start to understand to what extents privacy rules were broken, and the inherent deep risks.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What else is there to say on this most basic of points? The laws have been published, and there is also official guidance, available online. As I understand it, this condition must be met: "The individual whom the personal data is about has consented to the processing." Obviously you can't fulfil that condition by getting permission from a different person. Unless it's covered by some exemption, which I doubt it is, in general.

  22. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Why too short paragraphs are bad

    Given that Apple has a far less permissive attitude to user privacy, Tim Cook was commendably not-smug when he chimed into the debate.

    Speaking at the annual Chinese Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, Bloomberg quoted Cook as calling for stronger, “well-crafted” privacy regulation.

    This should be a single paragraph otherwise the reference to Cook is unclear.

  23. VinceH Silver badge

    Colour me surprised.

    No, really. I definitely am surprised. You can tell by just how hard I am trying to look it. Honestly.

  24. Steve Evans

    Luckily I heard that the messenger app was a huge battery killer before I ever installed it.

    I saw its permission list once, and thought "hahahahahahaha... No way!".

    On those occasions I "needed" it, I'd open m.facebook.com in my mobile browser.

    Then facebook actively started blocking the android chrome browser from doing messenger things, continually trying to force their messenger app, this made me even more suspicious. After all, I could do messenger things on my desktop browser, why would I need a bloaty app to do the same on mobile?

    So I tried a different mobile browser, and guess what, that works fine. Zuck and friends had obviously not put that into the blocked user_agent list.

    It's a pity so much of the population have yet to develop the right kind of paranoia regarding apps - they seem great at developing the wrong kind of paranoia with regard to other, completely innocent things!

  25. frobnicate

    How is it possible that an app

    can record SMS meta-data in that highly compartmentalised Android OS (just SSH onto your phone to see)? Unless users clicked a "grant permission" button, in which case why do they blame the app?

    1. rmason Silver badge

      Re: How is it possible that an app

      They can't.

      That's exactly what happened.

      People just don't read or understand what they are agreeing to.

      Especially given that applications either fail to work correctly, or constantly re-request permission should any be removed or not granted.

      IIRC it's FB messenger that "needs" the contact permissions to install and work. It's granted as default. So even if you manage to tap/click on "no" the 1000s of times you'll be asked to "let us help you find friends" thing (in the main FB app) every single time, you then grant/agree to that permission automatically upon the installation of FB messenger.

      Of course none of that matters if all of your friends have clicked "yes" already, because then they can scrape almost as much about you from them, as they could from you. You can either let them have the lot, wholesale, or they can garner most of it piecemeal from other users.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: How is it possible that an app

      "Unless users clicked a "grant permission" button, in which case why do they blame the app?"

      These permissions are bundled together and "essential" for the app to work at all.

      Users are conditioned to allow it all, or they won't be able to use the apps.

      There used to be a relationship of trust between users and software companies. This is now down the drain, thanks to Google, Facebook and the like. Lawmakers still seem extremely behind the curve, decades after the IT revolution took off.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: How is it possible that an app

        Especially since there should be two different permissions - access local data just to use them locally - i.e. lookup a contact to call, or display the name/photo/whatever, and slurp everything and send it to the Big Brother for its profile building.

        I'm not sure how much average people really understand the difference between the two.

  26. Chris G Silver badge

    Regarding Zuck's apology

    Would a psychologist know how to lie convincingly and will they give you back/delete with guarantees all of the data they should not have slurped?

    What about compensation or a share of the profit they made from your slurped data?

  27. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I'm surprised Google isn't being chastised yet for actually allowing all this slurping.

    They have the APIs in Android. They seem to allow any app to request any amount of access, incorrectly assuming that the user understands the implications and rejects apps that asks for too broad permissions (or, more likely, Google just don't care).

    The contrast with Apple's model is very stark -but then again, Apple makes money from the device purchases, app sales, and services sales. Not from the user's data.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      I understand the sentiment, but if you can conceive of an app the user would want to have access to the contact or message data - say a contact management app or something to automatically insert lolcats in your message (I'm struggling, but you get the idea) - then the permission has to exist, and therefore an app has to be able to request it.

      I agree that most people will just click the "whatever" button but, fond as I am of pointing the finger of blame at google, I'm not sure what more they could do other than a big red "really? Are you sure" button". Which 98% of people would click.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I agree that most people will just click the "whatever" button but, fond as I am of pointing the finger of blame at google, I'm not sure what more they could do other than a big red "really? Are you sure" button". Which 98% of people would click.

        Might as well add a pink "would you like to give us your first born?" button. No worry. 97.99% of them would still click on it. 0.01% of them would stop to think how to give the app their first born.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Indeed.

      It was shortly after I started developing Android apps that I realized I really needed to install a firewall to ensure that no apps can communicate from my phone to the outside world without me specifically allowing it.

      Android app permissions -- while they've improved -- are still pretty much a joke. They're far too coarse.

  28. chivo243 Silver badge

    you're not a Facebook user, in which case you had no say in the matter

    I'm not a fecesbook user, and I'll probably be pretty pissed the day I see what personal data of mine that they have.

    I can't wait for the day when FB goes the way of geocities....

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook and Google are the revenue generating part of the NSA

    You are being watched and your privacy sold

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      If there's one good thing about spy agencies...

      .... is usually they aren't very willingly to share data, even among themselves - up to the point they miss clear evidences about some big crime about to be committed, for lack of cooperation.

      So, in this regard Facebook, Google & C. are far worse - they'll sell you, maybe not everything, but enough, depending on how much they can earn.

      Remember, here FB is furious because CA made money without sharing with Zuck... and sharing is caring... <G>

    2. onefang Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Facebook and Google are the revenue generating part of the NSA

      Ah, so what you are saying is that FaceBook Incorporated are really Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fucking Bastard Ingrates the lot of them.

  30. Camilla Smythe

    Pron Filters?

    Since most of our ISPs now give us Pron Filters how about they give us FaceBook Filters using, for example, the list from...

    https://qz.com/1234502/how-to-block-facebook-all-the-urls-you-need-to-block-to-actually-stop-using-facebook/

    Non-technical people would just visit their "I want Pron Page" and click the check box for "Block FaceBook" in order to go dark.

  31. Andy 97

    IRC

    I don't know why they're all so worried, they've got more money than the GDP of many small countries.

  32. Lomax
    Megaphone

    Painful lessons

    Makes me think of the endless number of meetings I've had over the years with various clients, where I've argued that a mobile optimised, or "responsive" web service, would be a better option than dedicated "apps", only to be told that "everyone else has an app", or "most users prefer apps" - usually by some marketing bod with little or no technical knowledge. I suspect "most users" would be perfectly happy with a mobile website if they understood the different security models and their privacy implications. Well, maybe now they're beginning to!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Painful lessons

      Nothing implies an app should be a data hoarding one. Just, too many app developer though the path to success was paved with ads and had slurping holes everywhere.

      Dedicated apps are better than "responsive" (aka five-years-old designed ones, with big colorful images and buttons, one line sentences, and little else) as soon as the interaction with the app is complex enough - and when they have to work where data connections are expensive. For simple data perusal, a web site can be better - as long as it has useful data, not just something imagined by marketing and designers together - leaving users scratching their heads were to find the information they need.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Painful lessons

      I'll take a dedicated app over a web service any day of the week. It's easy to block specific apps from phoning home. That becomes incredibly difficult with web services.

      That's one of the main reasons why I simply don't use web services on my phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Painful lessons

        I'll take a dedicated app over a web service any day of the week. It's easy to block specific apps from phoning home. That becomes incredibly difficult with web services.

        I think he is implying that using a webpage app is better than a dedicated app. Update is faster for the company, the webpage only takes data of what it needs, and users only have to block the browser app from phoning unnecessary data back.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Painful lessons

          Yes, I understand. I'm just stating a counterargument. I consider real apps to be better than webpage apps. Aside from the fact that real apps tend to look and work better, if you're using a firewall then real apps are safer, because you can make firewall rules on a per-app basis. Since my standard practice is to block all apps from connecting to the internet, it generally doesn't matter what data they collect.

          Speed of updates means nothing to me.

          But my use case is not everyone's use case.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's my old Nokia?

    Everyone thought I was a paranoid f***wit for not using these "services", I never imagined that I was not paranoid enough.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Where's my old Nokia?

      Is that a Nokia C1? Love it!

  34. Droog

    Sorry, I've got to say it...

    I just...... don't care.

    I live a blameless life. I don't commit crime, I don't cheat on my partner, I don't indulge in anything online that could cause me issues were it public. I browse a bit of scuff, but then, so does everyone else. It's fairly vanilla stuff. Wouldn't really care if anyone knew.

    My shopping habits? Limited and unexciting.

    I have FB and the FB app, but only to manage a group page for a sports club I help. I have Snapchat, but don't have Twitter.

    Do I care what data they get off me? No, not really. Calls from my phone to people? Fair enough. Is it any use to them? Really, probably not other than to profile me a bit better.

    What does that mean? It means I see fairly relevant adverts for stuff when I'm browsing which is not a bad thing. I'd rather see semi-relevant adverts than completely irrelevant adverts. So by exchanging my data, I get an enhanced service in return.

    Ultimately, and I've said this before, we have been getting profiled for decades now, through thousands of different mediums.

    Use a debit or credit card? There's a very complex and detailed profile there of your movements and spending habits.

    Use a telephone (not just a mobile)? There's a profile there of your associates and contacts.

    Use any, any form of online booking more than once? There's a profile with that provider.

    Have home insurance or car insurance? There's another complex profile.

    Feel free to get your knickers in a twist about your data privacy, but this is not new. If you aren't doing anything compromising, then relax a bit about it and have a chuckle at the effort they're wasting on profiling you.

    I just feel this is another wash of moral outrage from people complaining that will soon be forgot about. It's also worth remembering that this is a fight that will go on forever, because Facebook is not the be all and end all. There are hundreds of other sites out there and messaging apps that profile you as well. There will be other, bigger beasts that Facebook that will come along in time and do it all again.

    My data? They're welcome to it. It's worth nothing to me.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Sorry, I've got to say it...

      I just...... don't care.

      I live a blameless life. [etc.]

      Two things. First, the above is a variation on the if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear argument, which itself is probably a grandparent of first they came for the Jews, and is definitely a variant of give [them] and inch and [they'll] take a mile.

      Second, the list of pre-existing ways to profile someone. What you miss is that up until now, these all existed in isolation and they were all subject to quite strict regulations. Yes, the credit card company has a good profile of my purchases, sufficiently good that when something "unusual" crops up they can flag it automatically. What they don't have is a way of tying my purchase of a birthday card and a box of chocolates to a specific individual whose birthday is next week.

      Yes, the phone company keeps a log of my calls - more than it used to in the analogue days when a phone bill was calculated by looking at the meter in the rack - but the phone company is not allowed to release that information to any Tom, Dick or Harry who asks for it; in general (though I realise there's been some debate about this in the UK) access is only granted after a certain legal process is undertaken. On top of that, the phone company probably can't connect specific numbers to specific names, unless they are also subscribers to the same company, and it certainly has no record of - nor any need for a record of - my aunty Viv's birthday.

      The difference with Facebook and similar companies is that they go out of their way to collect this connective data. They can/will tie a payment to a location, they can/will search the contacts book recursively and find people who have birthdays soon (because daft people put information like this in their profiles), they can/will monitor that person's communications and note when they send a "thankyou" because they absolutely can tie that person's name to a specific number.

      And that's why we're worried. That's why I never felt the exchange was worth it.

      M.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Sorry, I've got to say it...

      "My data? They're welcome to it. It's worth nothing to me"

      "Do I care what data they get off me? No, not really. Calls from my phone to people? Fair enough. Is it any use to them? Really, probably not other than to profile me a bit better."

      Having a detailed profile of you and your contacts allows them to manipulate you in ways that you probably haven't even thought of. In fact, it probably has happened and you are so happy in your ignorance that you haven't noticed.

      Also, just because you value yourself so much less than you should doesn't mean that everyone else should follow suit.

      Heaven help you if you ever actually do anything interesting enough to create an enemy* that wants to do you harm.

      It's quite clear that most people aren't imaginative enough to grasp just how much they *do* have to hide, and why. In my world view people who think 'I have nothing to hide therefore I have nothing to fear' are exhibiting a slave mentality and by undermining the efforts of others who don't want to be slaves they are actively acting against our best interests.

      In a more polarized world (if we aren't there already) such behavior could potentially be construed as the actions of an enemy and so attract negative attention. At which point you have made enemies of people who can find out everything about you. Are you afraid yet? I expect not somehow, but you should be.

      *In a personal sense, rather than just in the powerful vs. proles sense.

    3. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

      Re: Sorry, I've got to say it...

      Hello Ned

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sorry, I've got to say it...

      "My data? They're welcome to it. It's worth nothing to me."

      But what about all your friends and family whose data you're giving to FB? Did you ask their permission?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry, I've got to say it...

      I just...... don't care.

      Do I care what data they get off me? No, not really.

      Fine by me, only if you can stand on your argument. Please kindly post your location history from yesterday, 12am to 11:59pm on here, on this website. Location data is one type of data that FB can get off from your phone.

      Don't worry, we have planning to take those items you have shopped, trash your home and steal your wife using those data are only going to use it for ads. We're not going to use your information against you, just like FB.

      If you can't, you've just disproved that you do care about those data and your argument invalidated. If your next argument is you only trust FB, then look at Cambridge Analytica.

      You don't care when you can't directly feel it yet. When you actually lose something that is yours, by then you will be too late.

  35. David Gosnell

    618MB later...

    OK, I downloaded my data and tried to find the juiciness. Yes, there is much contact information in there that goes above and beyond anything expressly shared - though not to the detail of call logs. However I do remember occasionally doing a "upload my Thunderbird address book to find friends" a few times historically, although I'm pretty sure that clearly said it would be used for nothing else, but not necessarily that it wouldn't be kept on file "just in case". However the key thing for me (if not data protection lawyers) is that just because Facebook are keeping this data doesn't necessarily mean they are sharing it with anyone. Of course not guaranteed, and it's "in there" if they chose to or were hacked. I'm not sufficiently familiar with the API to know quite what is passed when users agree certain permissions for apps etc, but I rather doubt the detail of information seen here would be part of the deal. So probably a bit of an over-reaction, but still cause for concern given the risk of data breach or past/future malevolence.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: 618MB later...

      " I'm not sufficiently familiar with the API to know quite what is passed when users agree certain permissions for apps etc, but I rather doubt the detail of information seen here would be part of the deal. "

      Basically everything..

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

      If you've shared it with facebook & friends, developers can access it.

      1. David Gosnell

        Re: 618MB later...

        Oversimplification, and without seeing the specific data involved, impossible for you to say for certain. My experience with the API is that it returns user/group/whatever objects, and although the information seen in the dump obviously is derived from those in some way, whether they are certain to be returned, in full, to any app granted contact information, is uncertain. A sample app might prove it, not a Wikipedia page.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: 618MB later...

      " I do remember occasionally doing a "upload my Thunderbird address book to find friends" a few times historically"

      I'm hoping for a change in social norms such that sharing address books with third party services begins to be widely recognized and condemned as the antisocial act that it really is.

      1. David Gosnell

        Re: 618MB later...

        I'm hoping for a change in social norms such that sharing address books with third party services begins to be widely recognized and condemned as the antisocial act that it really is.

        With the benefit of hindsight, no arguments there. They seem to have changed the mechanisms around this, so I cannot see the specific boilerplate around the upload. I clearly wouldn't have used it had there been any suggestion the data would be retained beyond the immediate operation, but I still make no excuses for my naivete.

        Out of interest, I note there is a Facebook function Remove all imported contacts which I would hope does as it says on the tin rather than spam the poor buggers with fake news. No idea if that's been around a while or only since this scandal blew up. Update: needless to say, it didn't actually remove all imported contacts at all. Still naive.

        1. David Gosnell

          Re: 618MB later...

          Update: needless to say, it didn't actually remove all imported contacts at all. Still naive.

          Further update: it took a while, but eventually I was notified the process was complete, and the displayed list duly empty. I shall attempt another data dump to see if the offending information is removed. Odds of success? Well, it still seems to have remembered the last data dump rather than creating a new one, so maybe, maybe not. But that does mean that even though it might have purged its database, the information is still in the dump file it's trying to serve me, so they are in fact continuing to store it (albeit in static form) even though I have asked for it to be deleted and they say they have. Big oops.

  36. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Not just facebook...

    How many apps ask for apparently unnecessary permissions?

  37. PickledAardvark

    Not an FB user. Can I delete my personal data?

    I read about Facebook when it was launched in the UK and declined to join. I have never given FB any of my personal data by participation with the Facebook platform. Owing to the way that FB sucks up data about my family and friends, however, FB possesses a "shadow profile" of me.

    Can I delete that "shadow profile"? It seems a Schrodinger's Cat problem to me. I don't want FB to possess data about me, but the only way to request its deletion is to contact FB, thus exposing my personal information and validating inferred data. Can I delete my data without giving FB better data than they already possess?

    If my "shadow profile" is deleted (let's say that somebody accidentally erases me), will Facebook create a new "shadow profile" of me?

    I'm puzzled. Perhaps Facebook will have to act according to basic personal privacy laws and cease collecting data about people who are not their users.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Not an FB user. Can I delete my personal data?

      Actually, privacy watchdogs should mandate Facebook to delete any data regarding people who never gave explicit consent for its storage (of course, in jurisdiction when that is required), and fine it heavily for any profile found violating the law.

      1. PickledAardvark

        Re: Not an FB user. Can I delete my personal data?

        It's more complicated than that -- naturally.

        If my uncle identifies me in a photo, should the photo and his comments be deleted? It's his photo and his right to say "that's my nephew".

        For the moment, I'll stick with my belief that "shadow profiles" should be deleted from Facebook and Google etc.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Not an FB user. Can I delete my personal data?

          "It's his photo and his right to say "that's my nephew""

          True, but you should let your uncle know how deeply objectionablel doing that without your permission really is.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge
            Mushroom

            @JohnFen -- Re: Not an FB user. Can I delete my personal data?

            "It's his photo and his right to say "that's my nephew""

            True, but you should let your uncle know how deeply objectionablel doing that without your permission really is.

            A sibling of mine actually did that, and I responded as JohnFen suggested...at a close-to-thermonuclear level. Caused an extreme riff in the family for a few weeks until said sibling deleted the photo and the reference (and apologized). Yes, I know it's too late and the shadow file is there somewhere. But it got my sib's attention, and it's not likely that that particular behavior is going to be repeated.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not an FB user. Can I delete my personal data?

          Your uncle can, for his personal use only. What FB cannot do is take that piece of data, store it for its own use and correlate it with other data, build a profile, and use it to make money. That's no longer "personal use" but "commercial" one, and in most EU jurisdictions, for example, has to comply with personal data management rules - including notifying the user, requiring explicit consent, and also allowing for deletion of the data on request - which is exactly why any "shadow" profile built is actually illegal.

          Just like the copyright loophole, FB is using data uploaded by cattle themselves trying to bypass privacy rules. It is time to teach them what they mean the hard way. In many ways it will be far easier than copyright, because there's no loophole for "user uploaded" data regarding third parties, I don't really believe a simple permission to access the address book or the the photo album can allow for such transfer legally.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not an FB user. Can I delete my personal data?

          It's his photo and his right to say "that's my nephew".

          That's a debatable proposition. It becomes less debatable if he says "that's my nephew Pickled Aardvark" because it turns you into a data subject. What should become a real problem for FB, assuming you're in the EU, is for them not to say "I don't wish to know that, I'll pretend you never said it." unless you gave them permission to hang on to such information about you.

    2. Bill Gray

      Re: Not an FB user. Can I delete my personal data?

      I'm in a similar position. I'v never been on Facebook, but people have given FB my e-mail address so that I could receive an invitation to "be their friend". Examining their data, I'm sure FB has noted that many live in a particular part of the world, they lean in a particular direction politically, a bunch are interested in a particular area of science, and that they cluster around a particular age. You could make some reasonably solid guesses about where I live, my political leanings and scientific interests, etc. just from that data, none of which was willingly provided by me.

      I'd be quite interested to know what data Facebook accumulates on non-users and, specifically, what non-users can do to restrict use of that data. It would be great if journalists from a tech news site investigated those questions and shared what they learned with us.

      Oh, wait...

  38. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Interesting.

    Not one person here has mentioned Tinfoil For Facebook.

    Since I'm a geeky tech type and have rooted every single one of my phones at some point I've never used the default facebook app nor messenger. I suppose I should go check and see if FB has any of my call or sms data - but I gather that the person that wrote tinfoil objected massively to the things he/she saw and prevented it. FWIW - tinfoil allows one to flip back to basic web mode and hit messages that way - although it does get bafffed with the 'install messenger now' page when you try to hit messages from the current default display mode.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      You have an off-by-one error.

      Try also Metal and Hermit.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      I'm not sure I understand the point of such a tool -- if you're worried about a service collecting too much information about you, the best solution is to stop using the service.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        It won't slurp your contacts, text messages, call log, etc...

  39. Haku

    Virtual vs physical.

    Can you imagine if instead of a free virtual space to keep in contact with friends/family & join various interest groups & setup business booths etc., Facebook provided a free physical space (building) which was littered with cameras & microphones recording every single move you make?

    I bet people would still use it and complain their privacy is being invaded...

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: Virtual vs physical.

      "Can you imagine if instead of a free virtual space to keep in contact with friends/family & join various interest groups & setup business booths etc., Facebook provided a free physical space (building) which was littered with cameras & microphones recording every single move you make?"

      If it wasn't made clear up front, and was instead buried in the small print, people would still use it.

      However, if it was made perfectly clear, I bet the effect would be that some people would steer clear, and some would still use it but their conversations would be more guarded. And others (those we continue to see feeding their lives into Facebook in spite of all the recent news) wouldn't bat an eyelid.

  40. noboard

    Loved the article on the BBC

    From their "Technology correspondent" Rory Celery Dumbass

    He's acting all surprised that facebook has every contact listed in his phone, even though a screen pops up telling him "We need access to everything" before he installed the app. You know he just clicked 'Ok' without thinking about anything.

    Would be nice if he got kicked off the I.T. side of things, but he'll probably write a load more articles about things he should have been warning people against.

    1. Haku

      Re: Loved the article on the BBC

      Suddenly people are understanding what it means to blindly click that OK button when accepting terms & conditions.

      Much like the organ donor sketch from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life - youtube.com/watch?v=aclS1pGHp8o

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Loved the article on the BBC

      He's acting all surprised that facebook has every contact listed in his phone,

      That pretty much seems to script for a BBC journo. Be just a slightly more literate member of the public. You know, kind like how it's recommended to edutain small children these days, get them to yell out the answers.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Loved the article on the BBC

      Put yourself in the average journo shoes. Facebook, for them, was a gifts from the gods. As soon as a crime or disaster happens, they raid the Facebook account of murderers and/or victims to get the defiant face of terrorists, the worrying one of a murderer, and the smiling victims, plus full bios! From your desk.

      In the years BZ (Before Zuck), you had to work hard to get a bad mugshot, if lucky, and to get some info you had to annoy parents, relative, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, ask at the local religious site or bar, look in archives - hours and hours of work, maybe out in the rain and cold, driving around without Uber moreover...

      It's no surprise the media chanted many "magnificat!" to Facebook for years, beyond what the money spent in PR by FB should have deserved. After all, every journo need to be a little nosy, why don't welcome the nosiest tools of all?

      Now, they are in a dilemma.... tell people how much FB is dangerous, really, and renounce to such a trove of personal data, or pretend it's not that bad, after all?

      I see already articles telling people not to leave Facebook, it's too difficult, it won't delete all of your data (so why add more? And that's also illegal), you have to activate new logins, and it's so cold there outside.... please, please, don't drain our source of your data!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Loved the article on the BBC

        "Put yourself in the average journo shoes. Facebook, for them, was a gifts from the gods. As soon as a crime or disaster happens, they raid the Facebook account of murderers and/or victims"

        OTOH someone working RCJ's beat should have had the technical nous to keep a device for that task and no other. I wonder if the average journo's if their friends and families have woken up to the fact FB now have them linked to said murderers and victims.

  41. jason 7

    Deleted does not mean 'Deleted'.

    My other half had her 10 year old Gmail account have a brain fart last week.

    It decided to download all her old emails again but this time marked all of them as SPAM.

    The real shock was that 80% of it was deleted emails from the start of the account. Stuff that was sent to the Bin and emptied from the Bin.

    Was all there fresh as the day it was supposedly deleted.

    Google keeps it all.

  42. wyatt

    Whatsapp is used extensively by the police and medical professions. I wonder what data they have managed to gain from these conversations? Pictures, confidential information, personal information, child safeguarding information?

    1. PickledAardvark

      Professionals act professionally

      "Whatsapp is used extensively by the police and medical professions."

      I suppose that police officers and doctors and nurses might use WhatsApp in their jobs. When talking about processes, it would be an all right way to communicate. Just not about individuals. Communication never works that way.

      I can imagine a face to face group with police officers and doctors and nurses where the majority of people would spot that it is wrong to gossip online. Whilst tweeting that a bloke in front has a body odour problem. The whole purpose of social media is to gossip. You have to make it safe or safer to gossip, because you cannot change human nature. Create a space for people at work to talk about the things that piss them off.

      Or eliminate human beings.

  43. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    1984.

    Big Brother.

    Welcome.

  44. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    rm -rf /dev/facebook

  45. Snarf Junky

    Super secure

    I just went to update the app permissions for Facebook and Messenger and it seems I've already denied all but the most basic access to both of them previously. Go me being all proactive.

  46. IGnatius T Foobar

    We need to go back to the BBS scene

    Back when people hung out on a large variety of online communities (or even BBSes before that) things were better; there was no evil Facebook monopoly looming over it all.

    Heck, I've been running this one for the last 30 years, and the idea of uncensored free speech is now more relevant than ever: http://uncensored.citadel.org

    Remember "the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it"? Well, Facebook is damage of the worst kind.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: We need to go back to the BBS scene

      Indeed.

      Part of the issue is that although Facebook brings no benefit to people aside from convenience, there are an astonishing number of people who actually think that there is no way of getting the benefits they enjoy without giving all their information up to a third party.

  47. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    Oh dear? You mean there's MORE than one kind of serial rapist?

  48. SarkyGit

    Is this News

    I created a facebook profile in 2011, from my name (and not my real DOB) it started telling me about all the people I may know and true enough I did know most of the recommendations.

    This was a works PC I created this on so no contact scraping, the only real info I supplied was my name.

    That rang the alarm bell for me 7 years ago, I assumed it just matched my name against same surnames in my geographical location, and lumped in their friend lists too and this ended up a lot of people I knew,

    I used a dummy account since before that, the reason being, we would get a list of users on a Friday who would be starting on the Monday, so as we set each new employee account up we could see pictures of them falling over hedges pissed and the like and have a good laugh, so lets face it we have all been using facebooks slurping for our own spying/stalking and it's basically more fool you for putting it out there.

    I downloaded my profile, to see what they had for me, thankfully 103kb of just about fuck all.(bet they have my phone number against my name in my friends/families profiles but they just aren't letting on to me).

    .

  49. Crisp Silver badge

    Too Little Too Late

    Zuckerberg has already made off like a bandit.

  50. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So now, even though I've never used Arsebook, all my data are belong to them because you did?

    If I understand correctly, decisions made by people I don't know affect me adversely no matter what I do.

    Hmm. Facebook == Illegally Dumped Toxic Waste then.

    About what I expected.

  51. JohnFen Silver badge

    Getting smarter

    Well, I guess all those people that Zuckerberg considers "dumb fucks" for trusting him are beginning to get smarter.

  52. noisy_typist

    ~$ grep face /etc/hosts

    127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com

    127.0.0.1 facebook.com

    127.0.0.1 s-static.ak.facebook.com

    I think that makes me a bit less trackable.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the problem?

    Is it that people that aren't on Facebook are having their data slurped. If so, I can understand being annoyed but people that do use Facebook, what did you expect? You're using and have been using a service that is free but cost millions to run each year. Yes I'm aware they make more money than it costs to run now but still. If it's free, there is always going to be a catch.

    I think this will just get blown over eventually. All the slightly tech people will possibly stop using it but everyone else will just ignore the storing and carry on.

  54. PB90210

    it's ironic that the pages online telling you how to view/delete things like your FB data tend to be littered with handy trackers for FB, Twatter, etc. You don't have to 'like' a page for them to set a cookie... block a cookie and they still track you a flash object

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