Facebook is a hotbed for Illegal Harvesting of Information
Facebook wants and has more information from you than your friends’ list or your geolocation.
The controversy that is revolving around Facebook does not stop, at least not completely.
When Mark Zuckerberg testified before the US Senate, many facts and doubts came to light.
This is one of the reasons why the platform decided to implement “greater transparency” in its conditions and with it, that users could decide what information they decided to share with the social network.
Unfortunately for users, that is way too little, way too late.
Now it is possible that Facebook has data of people who do not even have a profile on the platform, these non-existent profiles are called “hidden profiles”.
This information was part of the questions that were asked to Mark Zuckerberg: Republican Ben Lujan asked the CEO of Facebook about the collection of non-user data.
His response was the following: “Congressman, in general, we collect data about people who have not registered on Facebook for security reasons to avoid reverse searches based on public information such as telephone numbers.”
Apparently, Zuckerberg completely ignored the existence of such profiles.
This was one of the most controversial responses generated in social networks such as Twitter because the media were in charge of summarizing in a simple way what data had been reflected with the responses of the CEO of Facebook after his speech.
In the case of “hidden profiles”, Facebook has the information that registered users decide to grant once they join the platform.
When someone opens a new account, the page is responsible for collecting the contact data of that person, they are given thanks to WhatsApp or the list of contacts of a registered phone.
That information that Facebook has saved automatically serves to create the so-called “hidden profiles”.
Due to this, when a person makes a profile on the social network for the first time, suggestions of friends appear, which, in fact, he already knows.
Facebook Facial Recognition on Steroids
In case the problems of Facebook and its creator Mark Zuckerberg were not enough, now many worries are beginning to arise, both in the United States and in Europe, about the implementation of facial recognition.
Especially in the old continent, this procedure may not comply with the new rules on data protection, which will take effect on May 25.
Already in 2012, this type of technology to identify the faces of people registered on Facebook was blocked in Europe, since the social network had not obtained the consent of users for the dissemination of their images online. For now, it is only used in the United States.
However, on the eve of the entry into force of the new European regulation for the protection of personal data, Facebook tries again, this time proposing explicit prior consent, as the regulation also requires for the processing of biometric data.
In addition, since last December, the technology includes the notification of the presence of a user’s face, even in photos where it has not been tagged.
The breach of these rules in Europe can generate fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of the global income of a company that adopts this method.
In the United States, the system has been active for eight years and in December the possibility of deactivating it was simplified.
Many activists and lawyers believe that, in fact, Facebook could also analyze the images of people who did not give their explicit consent.
Since 2015, thirteen privacy protection groups have filed lawsuits against the US Federal Trade Commission to support this thesis. Until now, these attempts had not been successful.
However, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the sensitivity to privacy seems to have changed and, in California, a federal judge, James Donato, has filed a class action lawsuit, potentially exposing the company to billions of dollars in damages.
For its part, Facebook has explained in a note: “We continue to believe that the case has no substance and we will defend ourselves.”
Facebook and other Social Media are a hotbed for Illegal Harvesting of Information
Facial recognition is used by leading technology companies around the world. Last year, Apple replaced its fingerprint reader with a camera that uses the face to unlock the iPhone.
With 2,200 million users Facebook has developed the largest database of faces in history and, with so many images available, has been able to train its facial recognition software, which is now one of the most accurate ever created.
Possibly, you will soon be able to recognize even a person’s state of health.
The company says it has no plans to make facial recognition data available to advertisers or external developers, but the distrust is real and understandable.
Why? because there are people and organizations secretly harvesting Facebook and other social media data with the explicit purpose of building the ultimate human database.
As reported by Forbes Magazine, Israeli backed technology companies are grabbing data hosted by Facebook without user consent. The data mining practice is being executed by so-called ex-spies at the behest of a company known as Terrogence, an entity that profits from providing personal data to intelligence agencies.
“Terrogence is yet another company that’s been able to clandestinely take advantage of Facebook’s openness,” reports Forbes, yet no one is talking about it.
According to the magazine’s report:
“One ex-staffer, in describing her role as a Terrogence analyst, said she’d “conducted public perception management operations on behalf of foreign and domestic governmental clients,” and used “open source intelligence practices and social media engineering methods to investigate political and social groups.” She was not reachable at the time of publication.”
You can delete cookies. You can change the browsers. And you can leave your phone at home, but you cannot erase your face, and you cannot leave it at home. More importantly, you cannot do anything about these shadow companies stealing your data and your face to build up a data hole that not even Big Brother could have dreamed about.
Luis Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the Founder and Editor of The Real Agenda News. His career spans over 20 years and almost every form of news media. He writes about environmentalism, geopolitics, globalisation, health, corporate control of government, immigration and banking cartels. Luis has worked as a news reporter, On-air personality for Live news programs, script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news.