Saturday, August 16, 2014

Why Facebook's Messenging App is NOT Cool

This came in by email today:

In a breathtakingly creepy invasion of privacy, Facebook is forcing all smartphone users to install a new messaging app. The Android version of the app -- and to a lesser extent the iPhone version as well -- allows Facebook to access your phone camera and record audio, call and send messages without your permission, identify details about you and all your contacts, and send that info on to third parties.

If you want to carry on sending and receiving messages on Facebook you now have no choice but to install Facebook Messenger - and give the company access to a wealth of personal data stored on your phone.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has also admitted that his long-term plan is to 'monetize' the app, so we need to act now before the app becomes impossible to stop.

The company claims that it is simply improving the user experience, and that it doesn’t have control over the permissions required for the app, specifically on Android phones. But there’s a simple solution to the problem: don’t make users download the new messenger.

Most people installing the app have absolutely no idea what they just agreed to. So we need to spread the word about Facebook's shocking privacy invasion -- and if we can make this petition huge, Facebook will have to listen.

Now, in case anyone is in any doubt whatsoever: this is not cool. The debate about whether or not privacy has been violated, and if so, to what degree is irrelevant. It has already been violated, and that is completely unacceptable. Every time another one of these situations is allowed to pass unchallenged, it results in another little piece of our privacy being removed forever. There is no excuse for that, and if we keep allowing it to happen, our children will grow up in a corporate police state where they have no rights to their privacy at all, and no legal control over their own personal information. Instead, their personal information will be available to anyone who can pay for it, for any abuse they see fit to use it for.

There's only one way to prevent that from happening: to oppose every single situation where our privacy is under assault. Otherwise we are throwing away our own fundamental human rights and freedoms.