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Facebook Still Evasive Over Cambridge Analytica And Fake News: UK Lawmakers

Collins says the committee will continue to push Facebook 'until the public get the answers they deserve

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Facebook, video chat
LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

Facebook’s response to questions about Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of its data continues to “display a pattern of evasive behaviour”, according to the chair of a British parliamentary committee.

“Facebook continues to display a pattern of evasive behaviour — a pattern which has emerged over the course of our inquiry. “In some cases, these answers even show inconsistencies in their evidence to us,” Damian Collins, chair of a British parliamentary committee was quoted as saying by CNET late Friday.

Collins has outlined a number of areas where Facebook’s answers have been lacking, including refusing accountability for fraudulent ads on the site, not sharing country-by-country revenues, digital political advertising and refusal to share how many resources are being devoted to security.

“Collins says the committee will continue to push Facebook ‘until the public get the answers they deserve’.

Facebook mobile app
Facebook mobile app. Pixabay

“The MP has been fighting to have Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg face his committee and is looking into issuing a formal summons that would legally compel him to do so,” the report added.

This comes a day after a security researcher revealed that a german personality quiz app was exposing the private data of about 120 million Facebook users it had amassed to third-parties online since 2016.

The company behind “NameTests”, a German app maker Social Sweethearts, created popular social quizzes like “Which Disney Princess Are You?” and distributed them on the social networking site.

Also Read: Google, Facebook Have Been Using “Dark Patterns”: Report

Facebook was hit by a major data scandal in March after Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting company, was accused of harvesting data of up to 87 million Facebook users without permission to help politicians, including US President Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign.

Appearing before the US Congress, the company CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the lawmakers that his own personal data was part of the users’ data that was “improperly shared” with the British political consultancy firm. (IANS)

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Social Networking Giant Facebook Blames Apple iOS for Bezos’ Phone Hacking

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook has blamed Apple’s operating system for the hacking of Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone, saying WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is unhackable.

Investigators believe that Bezos’s iPhone was compromised after he received a 4.4MB video file containing malware via WhatsApp – in the same way when phones of 1,400 select journalists and human rights activists were broken into by Pegasus software from Israel-based NSO Group last year.

In an interview to the BBC last week, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, said it wasn’t WhatsApp’s fault because end-to-end encryption is unhackable and blamed Apple’s operating system for Bezos’ episode.

“It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself. It can’t have been anything on the, when the message was sent, in transit, because that’s end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp,” Clegg told the show host.

Clegg compared the hack to opening a malicious email, saying that “it only comes to life when you open it”.

According to a report from FTI Consulting, a firm that has investigated Bezos’ phone, after that the video file was received, Bezos’ phone started sending unusually large amounts of outbound data, including his intimate messages with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia commons)

According to Clegg, “something” must have affected the phone’s operating system.

“As sure as you can be that the technology of end-to-end encryption cannot, other than unless you have handset, or you have the message at either end, cannot be hacked into,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple was yet to comment on Facebook’s statement.

The NSO Group has denied it was part of Bezos’ hacking.

Also Read: Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages. But the piece of NSO Group software exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via missed calls to snoop on the selected users.

According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, end-to-end encrypted apps (E2EE) do provide security, and messages or calls cannot be intercepted and decrypted en route without enormous computing resources.

“But once anyone can get to your handset, whether a human or a piece of software, the encryption doesn’t matter anymore. Because on your handset, it’s all decrypted,” Roy told IANS recently. (IANS)