Facebook has files a patent that describes a method of using the devices of Facebook app users to identify various wireless signals from the devices of other users.
It explains how Facebook could use those signals to measure exactly how close the two devices are to one another and for how long, and analyses that data to infer whether it is likely that the two users have met. The patent also suggests the app
could record how often devices are close to one another, the duration and time of meetings, and can even use its gyroscope and accelerometer to analyse movement patterns, for example whether the two users may be going for a jog, smooching or
catching a bus together.
Facebook's algorithm would use this data to analyse how likely it is that the two users have met, even if they're not friends on Facebook and have no other connections to one another. This might be based on the pattern of inferred meetings, such
as whether the two devices are close to one another for an hour every Thursday, and an algorithm would determine whether the two users meeting was sufficiently significant to recommend them to each other and/or friends of friends.
I don't suppose that Facebook can claim this patent though as police and the security services have no doubt been using this technique for years.
Privacy International has filed complaints against seven data brokers (Acxiom, Oracle), ad-tech companies (Criteo, Quantcast, Tapad), and credit referencing agencies (Equifax, Experian) with data protection authorities in France, Ireland, and
It's been more than five months since the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. Fundamentally, the GDPR strengthens rights of individuals with regard to the protection of their data, imposes more stringent obligations
on those processing personal data, and provides for stronger regulatory enforcement powers -- in theory.
In practice, the real test for GDPR will be in its enforcement.
Nowhere is this more evident than for data broker and ad-tech industries that are premised on exploiting people's data. Despite exploiting the data of millions of people, are on the whole non-consumer facing and therefore rarely have their
The Google+ social network exposed the personal information of hundreds of thousands of people using the site between 2015 and March 2018, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. But managers at the company chose not to go public with
the failures, because they worried that it would invite scrutiny from regulators, particularly in the wake of Facebook's security failures.
Shortly after the report was published, Google announced that it would be shutting down Google+ by August 2019. In the announcement, Google also announced raft of new security features for Android, Gmail and other Google platforms that it has
taken as a result of privacy failures..
Google said it had discovered the issues during an internal audit called Project Strobe. Ben Smith, Google's vice president of engineering, wrote in a blog post:
Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.
The audit found that Goggle+ APIs allowed app developers to access the information of Google+ users' friends, even if that data was marked as private by the user. As many as 438 applications had access to the unauthorized Google+ data, according
to the Journal.
Now, users will be given greater control over what account data they choose to share with each app. Apps will be required to inform users what data they will have access to. Users have to provide explicit permission in order for them to gain
access to it. Google is also limiting apps' ability to gain access to users' call log and SMS data on Android devices.Additionally, Google is limiting which apps can seek permission to users' consumer Gmail data. Only email clients, email backup
services and productivity services will be able to access this data.
Google will continue to operate Google+ as an enterprise product for companies.