Friday March 22, 2019
Home Lead Story Facebook, App...

Facebook, Apple, Twitter Face EU Probes For Violating GDPR

"The Irish DPC will be very closely scrutinising Facebook's plans as they develop, particularly insofar as they involve the sharing and merging of personal data between different Facebook companies."

0
//
Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook is facing 10 probes for violating the European Union’s (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) over data breaches and users’ privacy across its platforms.

In its first annual report after GDPR came into practice on May 25, 2018, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) opened 15 statutory inquiries (investigations) in relation to multinational technology companies’ compliance with the GDPR.

Facebook faces seven inquiries while its WhatsApp platform two and Instagram one. Other US tech giants like Apple and Twitter face two statutory inquiries each and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn faces one.

“All these inquiries should reach the decision and adjudication stage later this year.

“It’s our intention that the analysis and conclusions in the context of those inquiries will provide precedents for better implementation of the principles of the GDPR across key aspects of internet and ad tech services,” said the DPC report.

TWitter
The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. VOA

“There are undoubtedly areas of risk to be examined in sectors beyond the free internet services but initial complaints and breaches have focused the DPC in this area and warrant attention in light of the hundreds of millions of users implicated,” it added.

Ireland’s DPC is the lead regulator for the EU.

Since the application of the GDPR, the DPC has seen a significant increase in the number of complaints received. Between May 25 and December 31, 2018, 2,864 complaints were received by the DPC.

While Facebook is being probed over breach of user data, WhatsApp is under the lens for how it handles user privacy and shares information with Facebook.

While one of the probes against Twitter comes after it self-reported a “large number of breaches”, the micro-blogging platform is also being probed for how much access users have to their own data, reported ABC News.

Apple, smartphone
Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York, Aug. 1, 2018. VOA

Apple is being investigated for transparency issues while LinkedIn is being probed for profiling its users and targeted ads.

The Irish DPC last month warned Facebook over its planned integration of its chat services –WhatsApp, Messenger and photo-sharing app Instagram — asking the social media giant to provide it with an “urgent briefing” on the proposals.

Also Read- Unlocking Android Phones With ‘Ok Google’ Ends

In a statement, the Dublin-headquartered watchdog said it understood the plan was at a “very early conceptual stage”.

“While we understand that Facebook’s proposal to integrate the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram platforms is at a very early conceptual stage of development, the Irish DPC has asked Facebook Ireland for an urgent briefing on what is being proposed,” the watchdog said.

“The Irish DPC will be very closely scrutinising Facebook’s plans as they develop, particularly insofar as they involve the sharing and merging of personal data between different Facebook companies.” (IANS)

Next Story

Experts Urging Users to Change their Facebook Passwords and Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way

0
Facebook
Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way. Pixabay

After a report revealed around 200-600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by over 20,000 Facebook employees, cybersecurity experts are urging users to change their passwords and turn on the two-factor authentication (2FA).

So far the inquiry has uncovered archives with plain text user passwords dating back to 2012, according to the report published this week by KrebsOnSecurity, a blog run by journalist Brian Krebs.

Facebook in a blog post on Thursday said that it had fixed the issue and will be notifying everyone whose passwords it found stored this way.

“It’s perfectly possible that no passwords at all fell into the hands of any crooks as a result of this. But if any passwords did get into the wrong hands then you can expect them to be abused,” said Paul Ducklin, Senior Technologist at global cybersecurity firm Sophos.

facebook
Facebook said it had found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords. Pixabay

“Hashed passwords still need to be cracked before they can be used; plaintext passwords are the real deal without any further hacking or cracking needed,” Ducklin added.

Facebook said it had found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords.

“While the details of the incident are still emerging, this is likely an accidental programming error that led to the logging of plain text credentials. That said, this should never have happened and Facebook needs to ensure that no user credentials or data were compromised as a result of this error,” said John Shier, Senior Security Advisor at Sophos.

“This is also another reminder for people who are still reusing passwords or using weak passwords to change their Facebook password to something strong and unique and to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA),” Shier said. Turning on 2FA would mean that a password alone is not enough for crooks to raid your account, Ducklin added.

facebook
Turning on 2FA would mean that a password alone is not enough for crooks to raid your account, Ducklin added. Pixabay

Facebook also asked people to change their passwords “out of an abundance of caution”.

Earlier this month, Facebook came under scrutiny for using phone numbers provided for security reasons — like two-factor authentication (2FA) — for things like advertising and making users searchable by their phone numbers across its different platforms.

ALSO READ: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Receives Death Threats on Social Media

“Another security measure users can implement to strengthen their digital security postures is to use different passwords for different online accounts. Don’t use your Facebook password for any other login, particularly for personal/professional email accounts or online banking,” said Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Limited.

“It is also a good practice to log out whenever not using Facebook, even on mobile devices,” Katkar added. (IANS)