Big Brother is Watching You… Or Just Your Apps

Facebook admitted to reading personal text messages of their users. What?! Exactly my thoughts. Earlier this week I wrote an article about how easy it is to hack your mobile device. I thought that was scary stuff. This new discovery blows that out of the water. Did you know that Facebook could be reading your text messages if you use a smartphone?

Why would they do that? Allegedly to obtain data for a trial to launch its own messaging service. Whoa! When did we sign up to share our personal lives with strangers? Well, okay. We joined Facebook. But we are still in control over what we choose to share – or so I thought. So what gives? Well, the permission is disclosed on the app page in the Android marketplace. That’s good to know, but who combs through the 64-page terms of use document every time they download an app?

And the story gets worse. That’s not the only app accessing your personal data. Flickr, Twitter, Badoo, and Yahoo Messenger are guilty of accessing your text messages and photos sent. Twitter even admitted to collecting your phone and email contacts. My Remote Lock can intercept your phone calls. And YouTube is able to remotely access and operate your smartphone camera to take a photograph or video at any time!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t approve of YouTube being able to take a photo of me in my jammies and share it with the rest of the world – without my knowledge or express permission. Despite what their advertisers might like to know about me, I am not okay with this. Why are these apps even asking for access to things that clearly violate your privacy? And more importantly, who is approving these requests?

It’s clear that your personal information is a hot commodity and people are willing to go to extremes to get it. But who’s looking out for the consumer and protecting your personal privacy? I’m starting to consider removing apps from my smartphone… even my beloved Facbook. How about you?

Samantha Shah

As a secret nerd, Samantha keeps close tabs on trends, threats, and headlines in IT security to keep you safe from the bad guys. She believes knowledge is power, so Samantha is always on the lookout for new ideas, tips, and best practices to challenge convention and inspire change.