Archive for February 22, 2019

Facebook Shelves Data Slurping VPN….. Not That It Means Much

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 22, 2019 by itnerd

Remember that data slurping VPN that Facebook engineered? The one that got kicked off the iOS platform? The one that Facebook decided to use some underhanded tactics to keep it alive and in use on iOS before Apple took them down again? Well, Facebook has decided to shelve it:

Facebook will end its unpaid market research programs and proactively take its Onavo VPN app off the Google Play store in the wake of backlash following TechCrunch’s investigation about Onavo code being used in a Facebook Research app the sucked up data about teens. The Onavo Protect app will eventually shut down, and will immediately cease pulling in data from users for market research though it will continue operating as a Virtual Private Network in the short-term to allow users to find a replacement. Facebook has also ceased to recruit new users for the Facebook Research app that still runs on Android but was forced off of iOS by Apple after we reported on how it violated Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program for employee-only apps. Existing Facebook Research app studies will continue to run, though.

This really doesn’t mean anything as this is simply damage control by Facebook. What really needs to happen is that Facebook needs to be severely punished for this sort of bad behavior. For example, governments worldwide need to severely restrict their activities. They need to be fined heavily, as in into the billions of dollars. Or, if I were Tim Cook, I would simply send out an iOS update that would stop Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and whatever else that Facebook has out there from working simply to send a message that Facebook’s behavior is unacceptable. Those are the sorts of things that will force Facebook to behave.

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