Facebook fends off new NYT charges over data access

NY Times Facebook made deals with Apple Samsung and others allowing them access to personal data

NY Times Facebook made deals with Apple Samsung and others allowing them access to personal data

Facebook has shared data with such companies for years, letting device makers use features such as "like" buttons and address books in their gadget's software.

Facebook has said it disagrees with claims by the New York Times that it breached privacy pledges made to the public and to USA regulators when it shared information with mobile device makers. A problem compounded by the fact that these manufacturers also store friend information on these same servers.

The New York Times has broken what could amount to the next major Facebook data breech scandal.

Monday's interview coincided with the opening of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, during which the company said it would be introducing blockers to its Safari browser for third-party trackers on websites, such as tracking cookies from Facebook.

In interviews to The New York Times, Facebook however defended its data sharing agreement and asserted that these are consistent with its privacy policies, the FTC agreement and pledges to users. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies".

The example used? You better believe it was Facebook.

The revelation of such contracts calls into question whether the company adhered to the 2011 settlement it reached with the Federal Trade Commission, forcing the company to enact a number of measures to ensure users' information isn't shared without their consent. Blackberry said it did not "collect or mine" Facebook data itself. While I can see the need for these alternative APIs given the time frame, why data-sucking partnerships would continue beyond the 2011 consent degree is beyond me.

What does this have to do with Cambridge Analytica? After the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress to defend the company.

Apple, Samsung and Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

"Over the last decade, around 60 companies have used" these "device-integrated APIs", Facebook's Archibong wrote in his blog posting.

Craig Federighi, Apple's head of software engineering, was direct in saying that Facebook tracks users sneakily with its Like button. The partnerships came into play when smartphones were much less powerful than they are today, and the concept of a Facebook app as we know it now was not possible.

The first such data-sharing deal was struck more than 10 years ago, Facebook said in its statement, which describes the use of private APIs as part of its response to consumers' migration to mobile devices. Furthermore, the strong partition present on BlackBerry handsets along with the comprehensive permission model and app isolation techniques we employ would prevent any unauthorized access to our user's private data.

Apple said it has stopped using the APIs and that it used them to allow users to post pictures and other information without having to open the Facebook app.

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