Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg Are In Hot Water…
Many users were furious at the revelation that the Facebook Messenger mobile app was surreptitiously accessing phone functions and user data in what amounts to a total feeding frenzy.
To be fair to Facebook and all the other app creators who indulge in this kind of behavior; when we install an app we choose to approve the app. The part of that which just about every user skips over are the Terms and Conditions.
Reading this spells out exactly what Facebook Messenger is going to do but like asking for directions when you are lost or reading the DVD instructions,
Who spends the time doing that?
Relying on Laziness Or Ignorance?
So is Facebook Messenger relying on our laziness and ignorance and taking advantage to feed off our data and exploit our phones?
A lot of people in my feed seem to think so as many of them put out statuses letting everyone know that they had uninstalled the app.
Obviously Facebook is big enough to sustain these uninstalls and if the target demographic for IM is teenagers then you can count on zero interest in the Terms and Conditions.
There is clearly a lesson here and perhaps an opportunity too;
Apps like MyPermissions do the heavy lifting for you, checking and notifying when apps gain access to your information. The app can be installed on your desktop browser, Android or iOS device and also allows you an efficient way of keeping app permissions under control.
The Warptest POV
Putting killer apps like MyPermissions aside for a moment, the problem starts and finishes with app developers who in exchange for great apps (and Messenger is a great app for sure) see no reason they shouldn’t leverage themselves by making use of your device, data connection and personal data.
That said as I was reading the Huffington Post article (that is worth reading for a nice summary of what Messenger accesses) and I was struck by the fact that only last month Mark Zuckerberg posted an open letter to President Obama about his frustration with the US government and its alleged spying.
I have to ask if Zuckerberg stopped for a minute to even think if (de facto) commercial espionage on one’s own users is better or worse than excessive spying for the sake of alleged National Security.
Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes, Mark?
Who Watches The Watchmen?
In a nutshell, there are several layers of protection all users need for their personal data, like antivirus / antimalware. The best defense is staying informed of exactly who has access to your data and what they have you agreeing they can do with it.
It’s 2014, do you know who has access to your data and smartphone?