Who Can See Me?

Facebook paying up in Belgium?

A privacy watchdog group, Commission for the Protection of Privacy, in Belgium sued Facebook for storing data of people who don’t even have a facebook account. If they don’t adhere to the court’s ruling, it’s gonna cost them big time. More than $250,000 a day, big time.

Facebook’s cookie technology allows the social media giant to lodge into a internet device for up to two years after they visit a page on the site, whether or not they are Facebook users. this activity violates Belgian data protection law. Not to mention a terrible security breach! People choose to not enter the world of public profiles and social media, and yet are still at risk by the tech giants.

Facebook will appeal the court’s ruling, and claims that the only local security rulings of this kind which it is held to are in Ireland, where the company’s European headquarters are.

Further, Facebook claims this cookie technology is necessary for the security of the 1.5 billion facebook users worldwide. (How exactly? We’d like to know!)

Generally, there seems to be quite a few points of contention between major U.S tech companies and European legislating bodies, lately. In early October, with the Safe Harbor deal booted out (which, if you remember, gave local European authorities the ability to enforce stricter rules for transatlantic data transfer). Those local authorities are stepping up their game now, ensuring a tighter regulatory system on U.S companies that are dealing with European consumer data.

thematic

Who Knows What About Me?

Astounding results. Terrifying, actually.

A study was done on over 100 of the most popular apps in 2014 from the Google Play Store and the App Store, to see how much data is being shared with third party apps.

The study measured behavior data (search terms, location, etc.)  as well as PII (Personally Identifiable Information). The craziest part is that supposedly an app that collects this data does not necessarily even need the user to grant him permission to do this.

The results showed that on both iOS and Android, sensitive data is shared with (an average of) 2-3 third party apps, and the top domains that received sensitive data from the most apps actually belong to Google and Apple. (Surprised?)

 

The study shows which apps shared which potentially sensitive data to which third parties. And it’s a lot. Although the grim reports, the good news is that it’s not everyone! Not all apps share data with third parties, some of the graphs indeed have blank spaces, representing the apps that don’t share sensitive data with anyone else.

 

The study found a main difference between Android and iOS was in the type of data their apps shared with third parties. iOS shared mostly user’s current location, while Android shared mostly user’s email address’ (which is PII data).

 

This study highlights the flaws in the current permission system that both iOS and Android use. The system does not adequately inform users of the magnitude of their data that is being shared and how. Today, apps don’t even need special permissions request notifications for PII and behavioral data.

 

We at MyPermissions are disconcerted with this status quo. Frankly, you should be too.

fortunately, MyPermissions wants to make you aware of these dangers and how you can protect yourself. Some things users can do is enter false data to app requests, but the community of developers needs to help protect its users by allowing them to opt out of data collection, and think about designing app stores that inform users about third parties who may be receiving their information.

Our awareness of what’s going on behind our screens will help protect us from potentially dangerous situations. MyPermissions’ products help users understand who has access to what information of theirs. Stay safe by staying in control of your data with MyPermissions.

 

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