So Facebook are at it again, collecting your private information without your knowledge. Another scandal joins their list that includes the Cambridge Analytica and Data Harvesting scandals last year, and the recent allegations about providing Netflix, Spotify, Amazon and Microsoft access to users contacts and other information.
It has been discovered that 11 Popular Health and Fitness App have been giving Facebook vast amounts of your very personal information WITHOUT your permission.
What data are they collecting:
Deeply private health information including heart rate, blood pressure, weight, fertility and ovulation patterns and much more. It’s is so invasive that, in some cases, the user didn’t even need to be logged into Facebook or even have an account at all.
What are the apps:
While only three have been revealed, a total of 11 where found to be provided all kinds of information to the social media platform.
Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor - Gave heart rate and other related information over.
Realtor - Provided information about the listings viewed by the user, which were their favourite and the price and location of each listing viewed.
Flo Period and Ovulation Tracker - Sent Facebook a users ovulation pattern and even told the platform if the user was trying to get pregnant.
Is there a fix?
While Facebook will have to be seen to make up in some way for their shady data collection we don’t see them completely fixing this. We don’t see this kind of privacy invasion or violation and abuse of extremely personal information really ever stopping.
In our opinion, it will just use other avenues, and clever ways to extract the data because it’s how these social media platforms make their money. They use all of the data they collect to send their users targeted ads, the most profitable revenue stream. When it comes down to the ‘bottom line’, profit will win over respect for consumer privacy.
How to Protect Yourself:
The 3Ds: Do Your Due Diligence.
We cannot rely on terms and conditions, policies and law to ensure that your information is protected. Whether sufficient legislation exists or not, tech giants will find another way to get the information they want.
1- Use the Golden Checklist for selecting apps, to ensure they are legit. (Check Privacy Tip Below)
2. Permissions. Know what you are agreeing to, check the permissions required for install.
3. Privacy Settings. Facebook and other apps have some sharing settings, use them.
4. Sensitive Information Selection. When information is put online, it's out there, and possible for many people to get their hands it. Be selective with what you put out there.
Removing Facebook and apps that you may suspect to share data could limit how much of your information is leaked. But in this case some users didn’t need a Facebook account for their information to be leaked, and new apps are being developed all the time so your information could be targeted time and time again. Best to Do Your Due Diligence and be the protector of your own privacy.
All the best,
Incognito - Privacy Care Team
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