What is known about the consequences of the scandal with the application with full access to personal data.
On January 30, TechCrunch said that Facebook had been paying users for several years to install the Facebook Research application. The service provided the company with full access to personal data on the device – from personal messages to search history about geolocation. Participants in the study, who were between 13 and 37 years old, received $ 20 each month, not counting bonuses for new customers.
Facebook, 2018, which was marked by scandals, was again criticized in the media and social networks. Journalists called the application “the most disgusting of all time spyware.” The media also noted that teenagers deserve not $ 20 a month, but at least “a few thousand” for their personal data.
Facebook said in response that there was no secrecy or espionage in the application, and information was not shared with other companies.. The company did not deny the publication of TechCrunch as a whole, but soon restricted access to Facebook Research. The application has ceased to be available for iOS users, but it remains working on Android, where softer rules apply.
Apple withdrew Facebook’s corporate certificate, which allowed testing applications to bypass the App Store moderation. This is an unprecedented case of applying measures to such a large company. In addition, the journalists found a similar service from Google – and he, unlike Facebook, turned it off himself.
Facebook said it limited the research itself, but Apple did.
Apple said that Facebook broke the rule by distributing the app to the general public, which is not related to the social network. For this Facebook used the corporate certificate of the Apple Enterprise Developer Program – it is designed to test services only among its employees.
The certificate for iOS development allowed Facebook to distribute the application by reference. Since Facebook Research did not pass moderation in the App Store and was required only for research, it could be given almost any set of functions. Including those that contradict the rules of Apple.
Apple withdrew the certificate from Facebook. This does not mean that the main application of the social network will now be removed from the App Store. The fact is that after losing the certificate, Facebook lost the opportunity to distribute iOS applications outside the App Store and for its employees. It is not known whether the social network will be able to return such a right.
As highlighted TechCrunch, Apple deprived Facebook of the certificate almost immediately after the publication of the publication. That is, it happened about seven hours before the social network announced the closure of the study for iOS devices.
After revoking the certificate, Facebook employees with iPhones lost access to beta versions.
After Apple withdrew the certificate from Facebook, all unreleased iOS apps stopped working for the company’s employees . We are talking about services at the testing stage or beta versions of applications like Facebook and Instagram.
Also, Facebook employees lost access to internal applications, through which they coordinated office collaboration, travel to work and lunch schedules. TechCrunch called the situation in the company “chaos.”
Journalists found a similar program from Google – and the company removed it
Soon, TechCrunch discovered that Google was also collecting user data around Apple’s rules. To do this, use the application Screenwise Meter .
The study involved users older than 18 years. Google also invited teenagers at least 13 years old, but only as part of a family. Users, as in Facebook Research, were monitored with their permission.
But Google, unlike Facebook, provided participants with “much more” information about what data is collected and why they are used. Users also had the option to enable guest mode if they did not want their traffic to be tracked.
Google, without waiting for measures from Apple, stopped working Screenwise Meter for devices under iOS. The company admitted that it violated the rules of the corporate program for developers and apologized.
“We do not have access to encrypted data in applications and devices, and users can opt out of participation at any time,” Google said. Apple has not yet commented on the situation.
Facebook application started to check for compliance with GDPR
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) asked Facebook to provide information about data collected through Facebook Research. The state agency has already initiated cases against the social network, but this time it only checks if there are grounds for an investigation.
The Facebook application is open to members all over the world, including in the European Union. DPC suspected violations of the General Data Protection Regulation personal data law while processing information from minors.
The GDPR says that children need to be informed in advance about the consequences and risks of collecting information. The conditions must be stated “in a language that is clear and understandable to the child.” Earlier, American journalists reported that Facebook Research does not require parental consent for the participation of their children.
If the commission confirms that European teens participated in the study, Facebook faces a fine. The possible amount was not disclosed.