Archive for Facebook

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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U.K. Parliament Calls Facebook “Digital Gangsters”…. A Big Hint To #DeleteFaceBook

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 19, 2019 by itnerd

This isn’t going to help Facebook’s image. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee released its final report [Warning: PDF] after studying Facebook, disinformation and fake news on February 18th, which called the company and its executives as “digital gangsters.”

Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalized ‘dark adverts’ from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day

And:

Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law.

The UK is a country that is serious about making Facebook pay. To that end, here’s what is recommended:

  • The report calls for a code of ethics for tech companies that would be overseen by an independent regulator
  • The regulator would be given powers to launch legal action
  • The government look to reform current electoral laws
  • Social media companies are forced to take down harmful content
  • Tech companies are taxed.

I can pretty much assume that this is not going over well at Facebook HQ. They could really get smacked silly if they’re not careful. Perhaps they should take a more conciliatory approach and be a good corporate citizen.

Nah. That’s too much to hope for from these people. They have proven that time and time again.

Facebook Talking To The FTC To Make Their Issues Go Away

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2019 by itnerd

The Washington Post is reporting today that Facebook is negotiating a record breaking, multi-billion dollar settlement with the FTC to make their issues go away:

The fine would be the largest the agency has ever imposed on a technology company, but the two sides have not yet agreed on an exact amount. Facebook has expressed initial concern with the FTC’s demands, one of the people said. If talks break down, the FTC could take the matter to court in what would likely be a bruising legal fight.

Facebook confirmed it is in discussions with the agency but declined to comment further. The FTC declined to comment. The two people familiar with the probe spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private talks.

A multi-billion dollar fine would amount to a reckoning for Facebook in the United States after a series of privacy lapses that may have put the personal information of its users at risk. Lawmakers have faulted the company for mishandling that data while failing to crack down on other other digital ills, including the rise of online hate speech and the spread of disinformation from Russian operatives and other foreign actors.

You know, I really don’t think this is enough of a punishment. Facebook is a company that because of all its bad behavior needs to be wiped off the face of the Earth. Forever. A fine is simply not enough for them to atone for their sins because their sins are so great. Governments around the world should make it so difficult for Facebook to exist that they just die. And they should do it now.

Facebook Says That It Has Access To Apple’s Enterprise Certificates Again… But You Should Still #DeleteFacebook

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

I am sure that there was a very difficult conversation that that happened before Facebook got access to enterprise certificates again. The ones that Apple took away from them for abusing them. And as a side effect they made Facebook employees “pissed” and “angry” in the process. But in a statement to Mike Isaac of The New York Times, a Facebook spokesperson said that the company is “in the process” of making its internal apps functional. The company also confirmed that losing access to enterprise certificates did not have any effect on consumer-facing services:

We have had our Enterprise Certification, which enables our internal employee applications, restored. We are in the process of getting our internal apps up and running. To be clear, this didn’t have an impact on our consumer-facing services.

I must admit that I am disappointed by this development. I say that because Facebook are the bad boys of the Internet. They’ve always broke rules and then begged forgiveness. That’s not cool for Uber and it shouldn’t be cool for Facebook. If I were Tim Cook, I would have banned every single Facebook app from the App Store just to send a message that this isn’t cool. But they didn’t do that and here we are talking about it because you know that there will be a next time as I guarantee that this company has learned nothing from this experience. And if one company needs to learn a lesson, it’s Facebook.

Facebook Employees “Pissed” And “Angry” At Facebook Over Their Improper Use Of Apple’s Enterprise Certificates

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 31, 2019 by itnerd

The turmoil caused by Facebook improperly using an Apple enterprise certificate to gather data on users that they payed to run an app that would never have seen the light of day in the App Store has just gotten worse. Appleinsider is reporting that the company is now facing internal strife from Facebook employees:

According to a leaked internal memo from Facebook VP of production engineering and security Pedro Canahuati, the company is “working closely” with Apple to reinstate Enterprise Certificate privileges that were revoked on Wednesday. That information lines up with a summary of the situation provided by AppleInsider sources.

The memo, obtained by Business Insider, seeks to ensure employees that Facebook is working diligently to restore access to an internal version of Facebook’s iOS app, as well as private versions of Workplace Chat, Instagram and Messenger. For now, the company urges employees to download public releases of those same apps. 

Still, with Apple’s lockdown in place, Facebook workers are unable to use apps like Mobile Home and Ride, both of which are not distributed publicly. 

Facebook employees vented their frustration over the situation in statements to Business Insider, saying that colleagues are “pissed” and “angry.” Some hold Facebook responsible for running afoul of Apple’s enterprise developer ruleset, while others pin the blame on Apple. 

“Apple is technically doing their job and has a right,” an employee said. “This is probably one of the worse things that can happen to the company internally.”

Now there are some employees who think that Apple is trying to “take Facebook down”, but it’s still not good if this is going on and it is leaking out to the public. Hopefully Facebook gets the hint that they have to alter their behavior so that they don’t tick off people outside and more importantly inside the company.

 

Facebook Is At It Again By PAYING People To Install Data Harvesting VPN Software…. Yet Another Reason To #DeleteFacebook [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 30, 2019 by itnerd

You might recall that Facebook and their data harvesting VPN were punted from the Apple App Store because it violated the App Store rules. It now seems that Facebook is fighting back in a very unique way. They’re PAYING people between 13 to 35 up to $20 per month along with referral fees to sideload the Facebook Research app using an enterprise certificate on the iPhone. And this has been going on since 2016. If you’re not familiar with the concept of sideloading, let me explain it this way. On iPhones you can only install apps from the App Store unless they are enterprise certificate that big companies use to install custom apps. Now using an enterprise certificate is legitimate, unless you are doing what Facebook appears to be doing. In any case, TechCrunch exposed Facebook’s “Project Atlas” program that encompasses this. And to cover their tracks, Facebook has been using beta testing services like Applause, BetaBound and uTest to recruit participants to install the Facebook Research app.

Facebook confirmed the program in a statement provided to TechCrunch and said that the Facebook Research app was “in line with Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program,” though that does not seem to be the case based on Apple’s Enterprise Certificate policy. Which means that Facebook is lying. But I guess they had a change of heart as they decided to deep six this program. But only on iOS. It still exists on Android. I’m guessing that Facebook figured out that Apple could simply invalidate the certificate that these scumbags are using seeing as Apple issues these certificates which would put an end to this. So they decided to beat them to the punch and spin it in some positive light when there’s nothing positive here at all.

Here’s the bottom line. Facebook is not to be trusted in any way, shape or form. This is the latest example of this. And at some point they don’t deserve any more chances to be trusted. Instead, they should be wiped out of existence. That should start with Apple punting the Facebook app off the App Store along with anything other apps that Facebook makes.

UPDATE: Apple has apparently revoked the certificate that Facebook used with “Project Atlas” which as a side effect has also killed the ability for Facebook to test pre-release versions of Facebook, Instagram and other apps internally. Plus it’s also taken down employee only apps as well. This apparently is being treated as a 911 event within Facebook. Apple has commented that they did this because Facebook was in “clear breach of their agreement with Apple.” and they had the right to revoke the certificate “which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data.”

Sucks to be you Facebook because you deserve this.

Facebook Could Be Looking At A Record Setting Fine From The FTC

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2019 by itnerd

Something that warms my heart is Facebook being held accountable for everything related to their privacy gong show of the last year. U.S. regulators have apparently met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for violating a legally binding agreement with the government to protect the privacy of its users’ personal data according to The Washington Post:

The fine under consideration at the Federal Trade Commission, a privacy and security watchdog that began probing Facebook last year, would mark the first major punishment levied against Facebook in the United States since reports emerged in March that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, accessed personal information on about 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge. The penalty is expected to be much larger than the $22.5 million fine the agency imposed on Google in 2012. That fine set a record for the greatest penalty for violating an agreement with the FTC to improve its privacy practices.

For it to be effective, it has to be hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. I say that because anything less and Facebook won’t get the message. Which is that they can’t simply do whatever and expect people not to care. Thus I hope this report is accurate and this is the start of Facebook being served some cold hard justice.