Facebook paid 13-year-olds for access to all their internet data


According to TechCrunch, the Menlo Park, Calif. company - which has taken heat for a range of privacy-related scandals, breaches and snafus over the previous year - has been paying teenagers and adults up to $20 per month to install a "Facebook Research" app on their Apple or Android phones. TechCrunch reported that Google is running a data collector similar to Facebook's app on Apple's system.

In a statement, Facebook hit back at the reporting.

Apple's policy requires any apps that use its Enterprise Certificate programme, and thus do not go through Apple's App Store, to only be used internally by company employees. We've been upfront with users about the way we use their data in this app, we have no access to encrypted data in apps and on devices, and users can opt out of the program at any time.

Apple offers what are known as certificates that let businesses have deep controls over iPhones, with the potential to remotely install apps, monitor app usage and access, and delete data owned by a business on an iPhone.

Snow warning as temperatures to remain low this week
The cold snap is set to start as early as Monday, when lowest temperatures will be around -1 to +2 degrees with widespread frost. It will be a cold day with highest temperatures of 4° to 8° and mostly light north-west winds, but fresh in west Munster.

Facebook paid users, including teens, to track their smartphone activity as part of an effort to glean more data that could help the social network's competition efforts, according to a new report that may raise fresh privacy concerns.

In this case, Facebook circumvented TestFlight, instead directing participants to download the Facebook Research app from one of its sites.

Mobile app security researcher Will Strafach, who studied the app on TechCrunch's behalf, told The Associated Press that he was aghast to discover Facebook caught red-handed violating Apple's trust. Finally, less than 5 percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens.

The Research app was distributed to its users through Apple's Developer Enterprise Program. Facebook hid its involvement with the program by utilizing third party beta testing services that recruit test subjects. Facebook's Onavo VPN app was secretly spying on users and gathering private information while officially its goal was to minimize mobile data usage.

U.S. charges Huawei, top executive with fraud
Huawei is one of China's "national champions", an US$8.4 billion firm promoted and protected by the ruling Communist Party. It alleged the two executives tried to steal robotic technology from US carrier T-Mobile to test smartphones' durability.

The social network acquired Onavo in 2013 but removed it from the App Store past year after Apple updated its rules on data collection.

The internal versions of Facebook apps used by employees carry bits of code for updates or new features that aren't available to the public.

Facebook said Wednesday it is shutting down the app to Apple customers. "We don't share this information with others and people can stop participating at any time", as told by a Facebook spokesperson to TechCrunch.

In separate press releases, the senators pointed to growing frustration with the social media giant for not being clear about its data collection practices. This is the core model that's made companies like Facebook and Google some of the world's most valuable firms - they are, at heart, advertising companies. But BuzzFeed News reporter Ryan Mac tried signing up after the TechCrunch report was published, and found very few disclosures to participants that Facebook was behind it. When they did, all of their internet data, however they connected and whatever app they were using, was funnelled through the company's servers, allowing it to keep track of their activities on other services.

China has blocked the search engine from Microsoft
Many US tech companies are keen to tap into the Chinese market, but have a hard relationship with the authorities in Beijing . This looks to have changed, however, according to a source cited by the Financial Times on Wednesday (23 January).