Facebook has disclosed some important information that could cause a massive uproar from the site’s 1.1 billion users.
In a unfortunate turn of events, Facebook has unintentionally exposed the phone numbers and email addresses of over 6 million users to unauthorized viewers.
Being the largest social networking site in the world, Facebook was effectively left with a great deal of egg on their face.
These data leaks began in 2012 and the company is blaming the breach on a technical glitch in it’s mammoth archive of contact information.
The glitch caused Facebook users to inadvertently download other people’s contact information when they were merely downloading the contact information of the people on their friends list.
Although the data breach has been going on since 2012, Facebook’s security team was only alerted about the glitch last week. Needless to say, the team immediately jumped to work, and the glitch was no more within 24 hours.
Google has been threatened with a fine of nearly 150 000 euros (or over 2 million rand) by France.
The national data protection agency, CNIL, said that Google was not able to provide sufficient assurances about the use and storage of data that it obtains from it’s users.
France hopes that this bold step in insuring data protection will be followed by many other leading countries of the European union.
President of the CNIL, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said: “The information received in respect to this (has) so far been too imprecise or vague”
She continued to say that Google must set a clear and concise limit on the length of time it can store data obtained by it’s users. The CNIL also wants Google to seek prior approval from them before installing cookies on any of their devices.
POPI (the Protection of Personal Information Bill) has been a difficult subject for most corporates living in the age of cloud computing. Corporates using offshore data centres to store customer or employee-related personal information need not fear that this will be totally prohibited once the POPI becomes law. Although POPI prohibits the offshore transfer of personal data, POPI will provide for a number of exemptions to this prohibition.
“POPI has been in the making for eight years and will hopefully be passed into law this year. Companies will then have a one-year transition period to get their houses in order to ensure they comply with POPI” says Tammy Bortz, director and IT law specialist at Werksmans Attorneys. “One of the benefits of POPI is that it sets out the requirements to enable the transfer of personal data offshore which will in turn enable South African companies to do business internationally,” says Bortz. (more…)
About a week ago a big storm erupted because it was discovered that certain apps (like Path) could access the iPhone address book, and then also send that address book details to a server to be stored. While everyone was focussing on the offending companies like Path and Twitter, the real culprits were Apple, because they did not have anything in place that informs the user that a app is accessing his or her contact details.
Finally Apple has replied to these concerns, and have decided to bring out a software update that will force the user to give permission to an app before it can access the Address Book. No word yet about when this software update will arrive, but it is safe to assume it would land with iOS 5.1 which should arrive by mid March 2012.
Here is Apple’s official statement regarding the issue:
“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines*,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD. “We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”
So the apps did not comply with Apple’s guidelines. But for a company that has such stringent vetting standards when it comes to Apps, it does seem like a massive oversight on their behalf. But al least they will now do something about it.