Sunday, February 26, 2012

Facebook App Big Brother Alert - Did You Read The Terms Of Service?

As everyone knows, over the past couple of years, when confronted with disgruntled users, Facebook changed their privacy policies and created many 'layers' for individuals to customize what others can and cannot see on their Facebook profiles.

But unless you carefully read the Terms and Conditions when you downloaded the Facebook App for your smartphone (which is probably unlikely), you are probably unaware that Facebook accesses smartphone users' personal text messages.

A recent investigation has uncovered this very alarming fact, and Facebook has admitted reading text messages belonging to smartphone users who downloaded the social-networking app. According to the computing giant, it has been "accessing the data as part of a trial to launch its own messaging service".

But hold the phone!! (pardon the pun) - Facebook are not the only ones - Other companies that are accessing smartphone users' personal data - including text messages - include the high-profile photo-sharing site Flickr, Yahoo Messenger, and dating site Badoo.

A report released by The (London) Sunday Times claims that certain apps will even allow companies to intercept phone calls (such as the security app, My Remote Lock and a popular game, Tennis Juggling).

In case this isn't intrusive enough for you - YouTube has the capability of remotely accessing and operating users' smartphone cameras to take photographs or videos at any time!!

Currently, there are more than 400,000 apps that can be downloaded to Android phones, and more than 500,000 are available for iPhones... all apps that are downloaded from Apple's App Store carry the same terms and conditions policy.

The Sunday Times went on to report that Emma Draper, of the Privacy International campaign group, said, "Your personal information is a precious commodity, and companies will go to great lengths to get their hands on as much of it as possible."

A poll conducted by the newspaper discovered that a staggering 70% of smartphone users rarely or never read the terms and conditions policy when downloading an app.


Source: The Sunday Times