Facebook shadow profiles. Surely you’ve seen the term bouncing across tech news the past few days, and you’ve got a sense it’s probably some nefarious privacy violation—or just the first fun feature Facebook has introduced in years.
But seriously, are shadow profiles real? Do I have one? Are they bad?
If you use Facebook, then “yes” to all three.
Let’s take a trip into Facebook’s shadowy recesses.
Why are shadow profiles in the news?
Last Friday, right when most journalists were ready to go home for the weekend, Facebook released some embarrassing news. A bug had exposedthe private email addresses and phone numbers of 6 million of its users.
Though Facebook tried to downplay the significance of the bug, journalists rudely forced to work on a weekend quickly realized there was more to the story than just another data leak: Many of the email addresses and phone numbers exposed were not necessarily ever intentionally given to Facebook.
Instead, they were collected on the sly, stored in Facebook’s secret behind the scenes scaffolding, where it collects troves of data on you you’ve never known about. That data on you that you didn’t know Facebook has? That’s a “shadow profile.”
Who has a shadow profile? Are they real?
Well, potentially everyone who has a Facebook account. They contain a certain amount of information you’re not surprised Facebook knows about you—your name, your interests, your relationship status, how many times you’ve liked your friends posts. But at the same time, Facebook’s been able to smartly collect other data about you. Even if you’ve never told Facebook your phone number, for instance, it might have it. As well as your second and third and fourth email addresses.
So where did Facebook get this data?
Your friends! Or maybe even friends of friends. You can thank anyone who allowed Facebook to scan their mobile phone contacts through the “find friends” feature.
When someone uses this feature, Facebook downloads all of a phone’s contact data to its own servers. This includes mostly emails and phone numbers. At the same time, Facebook is also collecting harder-to track data on how you and all your friends and friends of friends are connected to each other. That’s how it finds people to recommend for its “people you may know” feature.
The company’s mobile app even tells you it will do this:
“Find Friends uploads contacts from your device and stores them on Facebook’s servers where they may be used to help others search for people or to generate friend suggestions for you and others.” (Emphasis added)
Does Facebook have shadow profiles on non-Facebook users?
It makes sense that, with all the contact lists uploaded to its servers every day, Facebook would be able to learn a whole lot of information about people who don’t even have Facebook accounts. But while it has stayed mum on shadow accounts as a whole, the company has asserted it does not collect information on people who don’t actually use Facebook.
Is that legal?
In the United States, probably. Facebook mentioned collecting phone contacts in the Terms of Service that all users must agree to before using the site, so unless the company is collecting additional information it didn’tdisclose, users have already given their consent.
But Europe’s data protection laws are much stronger. Max Schrems, owner of Europe vs. Facebook and privacy rights advocate, launched a complaint against Facebook’s European offices, headquartered in Ireland, citing seven different instances where shadow profiles potentially violate the country’s Data Protection Act (read the PDF here). Schrems asserts that the profiles gathered “excessive amounts of information about data subjects without notice or consent by the data subject. In many cases these information might be embarrassing or intimidating for the data subject.”
How long has this been going on?
Facebook said that its user data has been leaking for over a year. Shadow Profiles have been catalogued at least since August 2011, when Schrems filed his complaint against the company. Facebook has had an iPhone app sinceAugust 2007, and the “Find Friends” feature launched on iPhone and Android in April 2011.
Should I be concerned?
Probably! Especially in light of the recent revelations regarding the National Security Agency’s intrusive spying campaign, PRISM. Facebook was one of nine companies the NSA made deals with to turn over information about users. Since Facebook won’t even confirm it hosts “shadow profiles,” its unclear if that information from shadow profiles could have also been passed along to the NSA. But it’s certainly possible.
In other words, you may have an email address that you’ve never listed anywhere for anyone else to see, but because one of your friends added it totheir contact list, a snooping government agency might just discover it.
Swarm Summit and Tech Expo returns this year, slated for 22nd – 23rd November
Hive Colab has partnered with ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) and will this years hold another edition of the Swarm summit. This year’s exhibition will be at UMA show ground between 22nd to 23rd Nov. 2019.
This year’s exhibition will be themed “Celebrating Uganda’s Digital Transformation”. The Swarm summit and Tech Expo is aimed at recognizing the different levels of development of Uganda’s digital landscape, showcasing the different entities working to create a harmonious tech ecosystem in the country.
“From its humble beginnings as the first tech hub almost 10 years ago, Hive Colab has supported the entrepreneurial spirit of Uganda’s in technology. Three years ago we launched the annual Swarm Summit to provide a stage where Uganda’s digital entrepreneurs could share their innovations and their stories,” said TMS Ruge; Co-founder and Director, Hive Colab. “This year, we’re thrilled to expand on that spirit with a partnership with ICTAU to launch this year’s Swarm Summit and Expo. We’re thrilled to provide a larger stage to showcase the technological innovations shaping Uganda’s digital economy,” he added.
The summit celebrates Uganda’s top business and technology minds building enterprises powering Uganda’s emerging digital economy.The Expo is open for the public to attend. To attend or exhibit register here www.swarm.ug
Ugandan Digital Agency “Definite Creations” ranks 9th among top Web Design companies in the world
Ugandan website designing company Definite Creations has been ranked among the top global website designing companies by Yahoo Finance Magazine. The Ugandan website designing giant beat over 1,500 participating companies to a top slot.
Definite Creations is a premier digital agency in Uganda providing compelling digital solutions in professional website design and hosting services, search engine optimization and social media marketing, mobile Apps and software development to help businesses achieve more.
Participating in this ranking and emerging 9th out of the top 25, Definite Creations managed to beat over 1,500 participating companies from different countries based on price, portfolios, reviews, leadership and expertise.
Speaking to Definite Creations about this milestone, Lodi Daniel, the founder and CEO of Definite Creations admits that it’s a very humbling experience having your company feature on prominent magazine like Yahoo Finance, “I would like to give the glory back to God and thank all the team at Definite Creations for the great work they are doing thus far. And this is our renewed commitment to continue providing quality and effective Digital marketing services to our clients and urge businesses to embrace Digital to spiral their business growth” He added.
“Definite Creations is currently serving clients in Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa and this ranking will provide opportunities for us to tap into the global clientele”.
The survey was carried out by DesignRush, a B2B market place that features the top agencies around the world, including the best Digital Agencies, Logo Design, Branding, Digital Marketing, Website Design, ecommerce Web Design Companies, and more.
Infinix to unveil a phone with the latest technology
By Staff Writer
Infinix Mobility’s newest gadget brings science fiction to reality with the Augmented Reality.
The tech company is rumored to unveil its hottest new innovation on 8th July 2019 which includes Augmented Reality (AR)core, AR measure and Quick note. Infinix Mobility has proved extremely impressive setting a trend in the smartphone industry with its latest technology in the upcoming device, the NOTE6 aimed at providing users with reasonably priced device with a higher level of technology.
“We are moving from being just a smartphone company to bringing the high technology to everyone at affordable prices and the pretty cool NOTE6 is the beginning of greater innovation. The NOTE6 may not only be a phone with the AR core but is a device below One million shillings with such great features for everyone.” Marketing Manager, Ms. Gladys Liu said.
The NOTE6 AI powered X-pen comes with a lot of interesting functions which automatically detects and connects phone numbers, reminders, alarm clocks from the content recorded.
In addition, the X-pen has Intelligent gesture which can quickly erase the modified content, export pictures / format easily to spreadsheets, word document and handwritten font is easily translated into text.
The NOTE6 is rumored to have triple rear cameras, with a 3 days battery life and a tremendous upgrade in the RAM and storage capacity providing a user with space enough to store over 15,000 pictures, videos and a smooth user experience without lagging.
The NOTE6 will be available in three colors.
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