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Tracking non-users; What is Facebook up to?

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The most popular social networking site, Facebook, admitted that it tracked users not active on FB.

However it claimed that the report commissioned by the Belgian data protection authority ‘gets it wrong multiple times’ on what exactly FaceBook does with the user data. According to the social media giant, tracking happened because of a bug that is now being fixed.

Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of policy for Europe wrote, “The researchers did find a bug that may have sent cookies to some people when they weren’t on Facebook. This was not our intention; a fix for this is already under way.”

Allan responded to a few claims of the report which were presented by researchers at the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT (ICRI) and the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography department (Cosic) at the University of Leuven, and the media, information and telecommunication department (Smit) at Vrije Universiteit Brussels.

What is interesting is that Facebook claimed in a press release that “there’s no way to opt out of social ads” while the report states that “users can opt-out from so-called Social Ads”.

“Facebook does receive standard ‘web impressions’, or website visit information, when people visit sites with our plug-ins or other integrations. The authors misleadingly call this ‘tracking’,” “Unlike many companies, we explain how we will use this information and the controls we honor and offer,” said Allan.

Allan also wrote that Facebook is very much open about use of cookies for security, personalization and ads.

The Belgian Privacy Commission will be giving its verdict on the report on 29 April.

Meanwhile, things are getting hot for FaceBook. A team of data regulators from Belgium, France, Spain and Italy has been set up to look into Facebook’s privacy practices. Flemish, Dutch and European parliaments have also called for closer inspection of the company.

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Half The Global Population Uses The Internet: ITU Report

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness.

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Nigeria, Population
Youths are seen browsing the internet inside the venue of the launch of Google free wifi project in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

The International Telecommunication Union reports that for the first time in history, half of the global population is using the internet. A new report finds by the end of the year, 3.9 billion people worldwide will be online.

The report finds access to and use of information and communication technologies around the world is trending upwards. It notes most internet users are in developed countries, with more than 80 percent of their populations online. But it says internet use is steadily growing in developing countries, increasing from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 percent this year.

The International Telecommunication Union says Africa is the region with the strongest growth, where the percentage of people using the internet has increased from just over two percent in 2005 to nearly 25 percent in 2018.

Somalia, Population
A Somali man browses the internet on his mobile phone at a beach in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. VOA

The lowest growth rates, it says, are in Europe and the Americas, with the lowest usage found in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to data on internet usage, newly released statistics show mobile access to basic telecommunication services is becoming more predominant. ITU Senior Statistician, Esperanza Magpantay says access to higher speed mobile and fixed broadband also is growing.

“So, there is almost 96 percent of the population who are now covered by mobile population signal of which 90 percent are covered by 3G access. So, this is a high figure, and this helps explain why we have this 51 percent of the population now using the internet,” she said.

With the growth in mobile broadband, Magpantay says there has been an upsurge in the number of people using the internet through their mobile devices.

Nairobi, Population
Young men surf the internet at a cyber cafe on June 20, 2012 in Kibera slum in Nairobi.

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness. Unfortunately, it says the cost of accessing telecommunication networks remains too high and unaffordable for many.

Also Read: Global Care Crisis Rises Along With Growing Population

It says prices must be brought down to make the digital economy a reality for the half the world’s people who do not, as yet, use the internet. (VOA)