Your IoTs or Facebook IoTs?
The consequence of Facebook’s actions is leaving many to question whether Facebook also listens to cell phone conversations or reads text messages. And what does it do with the images and thoughts that users share?
Snopes, a fact-checking site and long-time reference source champion for telling the truth, can’t definitively say yes or no to these questions. It cannot say if Facebook’s policy allows advertisers to use members’ pictures without permission. The answer, like many of Facebook’s own admissions in the pages and policies it has changed over the years, is mixed.
“Cambridge Analytica is the canary in the coal mine to a new Cold War emerging online,” Wiley warns. “Soon the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ will become the norm in American households. Algorithms will soon be driving our cars and organising our lives. This is not just about technology today, we have to seriously consider the implications for tomorrow. To put it bluntly, we risk walking into the future blind and unprepared.”
So what is Facebook’s strategy with regard to data collection? Collect everything! Enter Onavo, a mobile data analytics company Facebook picked up for $200 million in 2013. Facebook describes this technology as an analytics technology and says the following:
As part of this process, Onavo collects your mobile data traffic. This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps and data. Because we’re part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.
And naturally, to make a profit.
To call Onavo analytics is dubious at best. Onavo is a man-in-the-middle technology that redirects all user communications (not just Facebook apps) to Facebook’s collection systems. The value to the user is security scanning and data compression. The value to Facebook is that it collects, stores, and analyzes all user communications. Everything!
In a February 15, 2018, Wired article, That One Privacy Guy, the person who runs the That One Privacy Site that tracks the trustworthiness of privacy services, said about Onavo:
I’ve read too many VPN company privacy policies and I can pick out the nonsense a mile away.
So under the premise of security and reduced data usage, Facebook is digging up all that info on the websites you visit at home and the apps you thumb through while you’re waiting for your Uber to arrive. On Facebook’s current path, your thermostat, TV, fridge, hot water heater, and pacemaker (?) will be reporting back to you on Facebook. Why? Because Facebook already knows about them!
Zuckerberg’s Facebook empire has so far tagged 2.2 billion of the world’s population with a tracking marker while successfully integrating the platform into 49% of global Internet sites. An astounding feat! That means that Facebook collects all communications for one-third of the world’s population on one-half of the sites on the Internet. To some, that is too much since not even the NSA has this level of access. Given its collect-everything strategy, collecting half of the communications means it is leaving the other half on the table.
With a checkered history, Facebook continues to break rules, forego permission, and use a complex labyrinth of legal jargon that only a white-shoe attorney can understand to justify its behavior. And even though a Facebook app may not yet exist for an IoT like a smart refrigerator, it is infused with so many Facebook-enabled apps that a simple trip to the grocery store delivers yet another data point on Facebook’s massive analytics machine. It’s safe to say that Facebook is not coming to your everyday gadgets—it’s already there.
By the way, Facebook says you’re low on milk and your neighbor Janet is at the grocery store. Should I ask her to pick some up for you? 2% organic—right?
About Acreto IoT Security
Acreto IoT Security delivers advanced security for IoT Ecosystems, from the cloud. IoTs are slated to grow to 50 Billion by 2021. Acreto’s Ecosystem security protects all Clouds, users, applications, and purpose-built IoTs that are unable to defend themselves in-the-wild. The Acreto platform offers simplicity and agility, and is guaranteed to protect IoTs for their entire 8-20 year lifespan. The company is founded and led by an experienced management team, with multiple successful cloud security innovations. Learn more by visiting Acreto IoT Security on the web at acreto.io or on Twitter @acretoio.