Facebook's Protect security feature is essentially Spyware

Facebook's Protect iOS feature effectively installs spyware on iPhones and iPads

Here's what might irk you: Onavo Protect doesn't just help 'keep you and your data safe, ' as it promises; it also tracks you, and sends information about the apps and websites you use back to Facebook.

It reads: 'To provide this protection, Onavo uses a VPN to establish a secure connection to direct all of your network communications through Onavo's servers. We have a full rundown on what VPNs do here, but put simply: a VPN encrypts all your internet traffic and routes it through a server somewhere else.

Onavo does clearly state Protect is owned by Facebook, and that it shares information with the company but, per Apple App Store's design, the information is found under the expanded "description" tab. The Onava app does indeed meet the definition of a VPN, but the trojan horse of the story is that all the data running through the app is being used by Facebook to monitor every single thing a user does.

This gives Facebook so much data that they can easily spot new trends across the mobile ecosystem, tell if a new app is about to become a breakout hit, identify mobile features that resonate to users, and so much more. This is not apparent from the abbreviated version of the privacy statement, but only from the long version, which can only be accessed via a link. Doing so allows Facebook to monitor the online habits of people outside their use of the Facebook app itself.

And like many VPN services, Onavo collects and analyses mobile data traffic to operate and improve its service; nothing too unusual there for anyone who's not a total privacy freak. So essentially the app could be tracking you in nearly every conceivable way.

'Over time, this helps the tool work better for you and others.

Indeed, Facebook is not shy in admitting the data-gathering, even if it's not shouting about it.

Have you tried the Onavo VPN?

'Because we're part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences'.

It is unclear how Facebook is planning to leverage the user data it will collect through the Onavo Protect app. But Facebook can see a lot-if that app doesn't encrypt its own traffic, in fact, they can see almost everything you do in that app. Typically, a VPN cloaks the user's identity and adds other security features, making it a more secure way to get online, particularly when using public Wi-Fi networks. So, do yourself a favor and stay away from it.

Thankfully, if you're anxious about snooping on public Wi-Fi networks, just make sure the website you're connecting to uses HTTPS-or that the app you're using encrypts your connection. Disconnect Pro is a VPN that also blocks tracking and malware, so it may be a good alternative to Onavo Protect if that's what you're looking for.

Related:

Comments


Other news