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In the latest discovery to raise privacy concerns about the Silicon Valley technical titans, reports have emerged that Facebook and Google offer adult gifts and teens to install applications that will allow companies to collect data about their smartphones.
TechCrunch announced on Tuesday that since 2016, Facebook has been paying users – some at the age of 13 – up to $ 20 a month to install an application called Facebook Research. The app can give Facebook access to personal messages, photos, videos, emails, web searches and browsing activity.
"Facebook bypasses the App Store and rewards teens and adults to take the research application and give it access to routing of network traffic in what might be a violation of Apple's policy so that the social network can decrypt and analyze their activity on the phone, "TechCrunch reported.
Apple bans Facebook Research.
Facebook is not the only technology company that collects data with such applications. Google announced on Wednesday that it would pull out a similar application called Screenwise Meter.
This is not the first time Facebook has been accused of going to extreme lengths to get user data. In 2013, she bought a company called Onavo and reportedly used the Onavo application to get more information about WhatsApp, a competing messaging platform that Facebook finally bought for $ 19 billion.
The Facebook app's app is similar to the Onavo application that banned Apple last year.
"To use it in this way, and under my name, is unbelievable for me. I do not understand what they think they are doing or how they think they can get away with it" Will Strafach, a mobile security researcher who studied the TechCrunch application, told NPR.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook said the application "is not" spying, "because all the people who applied for participation went through a clear boarding process asking permission and being paid for participation." And, said the company, less than 5 percent of participants "in this market research program were teenagers. They all have signed parental licenses forms."
Lawmakers ask Facebook for the application.
"I'm concerned that users are not properly informed about the extent of data collection on Facebook and the commercial goals of this data collection," wrote Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Webber, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. "The apparent lack of full transparency among Facebook users, especially in the context of research efforts," was a source of frustration for me. "
And Senator Josh Hally, R-Mo., writes on Twitter: "Wait a minute". Facebook teaches teenagers to install a foreman on their phones, without telling them that they give Facebook the power to spy on them? Some children aged 13 years. Are you serious? "
Wait a minute. Facebook pay teenagers to install a surveillance device on their phones without telling them that it gave Facebook the power to spy on them? Some children aged 13 years. Are you serious? https://t.co/87MGCk5BeM
– Josh Haley (@HawleyMO) January 30, 2019
In a statement on TechCrunch, Google said the Screenwise Meter application "should not have functioned under Apple's software program – this is a mistake and we apologize. We excluded this application on iOS devices." This application is completely voluntary and it's always. we were in advance with the users about the way we use their data in this application, we do not have access to encrypted data in applications and devices, and users can drop the program at any time. "
Katie Moussouris of Luta Security says she understands why younger users would agree to give so much access to their private life.
"Some of these children have grown with almost no privacy at all," she says. "Their photographs shared by their parents, their families before they can agree on it. Therefore, for them, I probably feel that there is nothing that can be hidden."