Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Testing, testing, is this thing on?

What thing, you may ask?

Oh, that fitness app on your phone, or the Fitbit on your wrist, or even your shiny new BlueTooth-enabled treadmill.

And by "on," I mean listening intently and passing along what it hears, measures and records.

We've touched on this topic before, most recently here:

"Runner found to be a hitman after GPS Watch ties him to crime scene ... The health-conscious assassin was picked up for another murder, then investigators found his Garmin."

Which may be a win for law enforcement (and society as a whole), but as FoIB Holly R alerts us, it gets a little darker:

"Millions of smartphone users confess their most intimate secrets to apps, including when they want to work on their belly fat or the price of the house they checked out last weekend ... Unbeknown to most people, in many cases that data is being shared with someone else: Facebook Inc."

[ed: link is to 9to5mac due to WSJ paywall]

The question then arises: who else is Facebook selling this information to? The most obvious is marketers, but one presumes that there are potentially lots of other interested parties.

And there's this:

"The social-media giant collects intensely personal information from many popular smartphone apps just seconds after users enter it, even if the user has no connection to Facebook ... Previously unreported is how at least 11 popular apps, totaling tens of millions of downloads, have also been sharing sensitive data entered by users."

Not mentioned: what do we do now that we know?

'Tis a poser.
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