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Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation: it is necessary at the legislative level to protect the data of Russians on Facebook


Andrey Alshevskikh, the State Duma Deputy, said that the threat to the personal data of Russian users of the social network Facebook is real. The Deputy notes that it is necessary to take appropriate security measures at the legislative level.

The day before it became known that the hacker group OurMine hacked two official Facebook accounts on Twitter. On the night of February 8, an appeal appeared on these pages stating the vulnerability of Facebook to hacker attacks. It was also said about the weakness of the Twitter security system.

"As for Facebook, this is not the first case and, something tells me, not the last. It is necessary to deal with such cases in detail and take concrete steps at the legislative level, make amendments to existing laws, and adopt new ones to protect the data of Russian citizens," said the Deputy.

Alshevskikh recalled that the threat to the personal data of Russians who use Facebook was mentioned repeatedly. Therefore, a law was adopted providing for the storage of personal data of citizens of the Russian Federation in Russia, however, some companies do not want to comply with it.

"We need to force Facebook to comply with Russian law," said Alshevskikh. Recall that earlier Roskomnadzor started administrative proceedings against Facebook and Twitter, which did not provide a localization report at the indicated time. Refusal to localize, according to Russian law, faces a multimillion-rubles fine. In the case of the first violation, legal entities may be charged up to 6 million rubles ($94,000), in the case of a second violation - from 6 to 18 million rubles ($94,000-$282,000). Court hearings have already been scheduled and will take place on February 13 in a Moscow court.

Earlier, CEO of a detective agency and speaker on cyberattacks Vladimir Golovin recommended that those who are concerned about the safety of their personal data stop using Facebook.

CEO of a detective agency and speaker on cyber attacks: users should understand that Facebook is leaking their data


Numerous Facebook leaks in 2013 and 2016 put users in a position where they are not responsible for their security. This opinion was expressed by the General Director of the detective agency and speaker on cyber attacks Vladimir Golovin.

The Cybersecurity team at Check Point Research found out that Internet attacks were most often carried out on Internet users to obtain their personal data via Facebook for the last quarter of 2019. A social network is not able to protect its customers from online fraud.

Experts told about such a fraud scheme as "phishing", which consists of the theft of the username, password and other personal data. Hackers operate through social networks or other platforms where people leave information about themselves. As a result, it turned out that Facebook has become the leader among platforms that are hacked by scammers. The second line is occupied by the Yahoo service, and in third place is Netflix.

According to Golovin, when a user leaves their data somewhere, their security depends on him only by 50%.

"If you want to give your personal data, then use Facebook. If not, you don't need to use it at all," said the speaker.

According to him, today people have the wrong attitude to personal data, so it is worth starting the fight with this. Many people do not understand the danger they face when leaving personal information on unverified sources.

Golovin notes that Facebook continues to do the same, leaking user information.
"Therefore, in the field of information security and data storage, all these are political games," he concluded.

It is worth noting that, in addition to the constant leak of personal information, foreign sites continue to brazenly violate Russian laws by refusing to transfer servers with Russian data to the territory of the Russian Federation. Ruslan Ostashko, editor-in-chief of the online publication Politrussia, said that it is necessary to register the possibility of blocking the activities of Facebook and Twitter at the legislative level.

Clause Addition to the IT Act; Social Media Companies Now Responsible For All Nonuser Generated Content


A change brought in line with the changes in the US and Europe, the Indian government has recently added a clause to the proposed IT intermediary guidelines, making social media companies responsible for all nonuser produced content including supported content, distributed on their platforms. 

The change is expected to impact some extremely popular social media platforms, like Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram as well as Facebook. 

When the amended guidelines are made public, social media organizations will be required to accordingly and appropriately tag and identify all sponsored content published on their platforms and alongside it, draft standards, which are 'under consideration' of the law ministry, are expected to be notified in about a few weeks according to a senior government official “We have had a few rounds of discussions with the law ministry. 

These guidelines should be notified by February-end, the start of March.” Section 79-II of the Information Technology Act, 2000, right now absolves online intermediaries from obligation for any third party substance shared on their platform. In any case, with the new clause, the Act will give "safe harbor protection" to intermediaries, inasmuch as they just assume the job of a facilitator and not maker or modifier, in any way of the content posted.


What expedited the change was an issue that occurred in the previous year a disagreement regarding content between social media platform TikTok and Twitter-sponsored ShareChat where the latter had to bring down more than 100 videos from its platform. 

Right now, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have certain features and tags through which ads and paid partnerships are displayed. Yet, publicists and advertisers state brands would rather push content through influencers to make it look increasingly organic. 

There is likewise no compulsion or onus on the influencers to highlight that the products and content they are supporting are paid for. 

However, Government authorities said such content, produced by influencers without the contribution of the social media platforms, may in any case not be secured by the most recent clause. This clause will relate to just such non-user produced content in which the platform is in some way involved.

Facebook to give $550 Million as a Settlement in a Lawsuit


Social Media giant Facebook is to pay an amount of $550 million as a settlement in what appears to be another series of lawsuits, and this time, it is a Facial Recognition issue. The lawsuit is not good for the brand perception of Facebook as it puts further questions to the credibility of the privacy laws of the social networking site.


"Facebook has agreed to pay a settlement of $550 million related to a claim filed for FB's facial recognition technique," said Facebook this Wednesday. The incident that appeared in Illinois is said to be a great triumph for privacy organizations as it raises the question of privacy laws of the company Facebook which is already among the controversies of data laws. The issue emerged from FB's image labeling technique named 'Tag Suggestions,' which uses facial recognition techniques to suggest the name of users present in the photo.

The company that has filed lawsuit accused Facebook of collecting the facial data of the company's employees that violate Ilionis Biometric Privacy law. It accuses Fb of storing data of millions of users for Tag suggestions without the knowledge of the company's employees and also without them knowing how long the data will be kept. Facebook has dismissed the allegations saying it has no basis of proof. As per the settlement, FB has to pay $550 Million as legal fees to the affected users of the Illinois company. This payment even surpasses the $380 Million amount that the reporting agency 'Equifax' had agreed to pay for the settlement of a 2017 consumer data breach incident.

"Facebook agreed to settle the case by giving back what was rightful to the community and in the goodwill of public interest, as it affects our stakeholders," says FB's spokesperson. "The settlement highlighted the importance of user privacy and security," says lawyer Joey Edelson, whose firm addressed the issue on behalf of the affected users of Facial Recognition suit. He further says, "people worried about issues related to gun rights concerning women safety or people who like to participate in societal issues by not disclosing their identity hold the same importance and we should respect their privacy."

Simple Tips to Prevent your WhatsApp Account from Hackers


WhatsApp (now owned by Facebook), a popular social networking app, as we all know, is very easy to setup. But this simple process also opens your account to some vulnerabilities and threats, if you are not cautious while setting your WhatsApp account. Luckily, there exists an extra defense line to ensure the safety of your account, if your 6 digit activation code is hacked.


However, as noticed in the recent hacking incident against Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos, it was observed that these security measures aren't enough to provide security. But it will somehow provide you an extra safety mechanism if, by any chance, the hacker gets your 6 digit security code. How to ensure the safety of your Whatsapp account? In normal circumstances, getting back to your hacked Whatsapp account is very simple: open the app, and while logging in, the app will send you another 6 digit code.

But the problem arises when the hacker, once having the hold of your account, intentionally puts up wrong verification codes to prevent further login into your account for up to 12 hours. The worst-case scenario arises when the user has not set up the 2 step authentication process, which permits the hacker to use a security pin of their own, restricting the user access to his Whatsapp account for a total duration of 7 days.

Therefore, it is always important to follow 2 basic rules:
  1. Don't disclose your 6 digit verification code- it doesn't matter if it's your parents, family, or friends. No one ever has a genuine intention to ask your Whatsapp code sent over the SMS, so never consider disclosing the details. 
  2. Set up a 2 step verification process- if in case, your account gets hacked by some reason, 2 step security pin ensures that only the user has the access to the Whatsapp account. 
How to set up the security pin-
  • Open Whatsapp and go to the settings option. 
  • Select account and hit 2 step verification. 
  • Setup your 6 digit security pin. 
  • You will be asked this every time you install your WhatsApp. You can also add your e-mail address as a backup if you ever lose your pin.

Facebook Code Update Gone Wrong Exposes Anonymous Admins



Recently Facebook encountered quite a bug crisis, as a bad code update going live on the night of 10th January apparently prompted the exposure of the mysterious anonymous of admins and many known personalities for a few hours.

All it took to exploit' the bug was opening a target page and checking specifically the edit history of a post and Facebook erroneously showed the account or accounts that made those edits to each post, as opposed to simply displaying the edits themselves.

In spite of the fact that Facebook immediately pushed a fix for this flaw, yet it wasn't quick than the word that had already got around on message boards like 4chan, where users posted screen captures that 'doxed' the accounts behind prominent and rather well-known pages.

Saying that it was the aftereffect of a code update, the social media giant, exposed the accounts behind the official Facebook Pages of the 'pseudonymous' artist Banksy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alongside the Climate activist Greta Thunberg, and rapper Snoop Dogg, among others.

No data past a name and public profile link was accessible; however, for those admins running anti-regime pages under 'a repressive government', even this much public exposure is also extremely alarming.

After a series of privacy and security indiscretions, Facebook has concentrated explicitly on building out its protections and has additionally been relentlessly growing its bug bounty, which has encouraged researchers, just like the person who discovered the edit history bug, to submit security flaw for potential rewards in the future.

As ambitious upgrades like these require some serious effort and time and no absolutely no amount of added security can change the major risks that go with amassing the information of 2.5 billion individuals.

Lukasz Olejnik, an independent privacy adviser and research associate at Oxford University's Center for Technology and Global Affairs says, "For sensitive pages, I would not rule out that some people may be feeling that they are in danger due to what happened today, using fake accounts to run pages would have been a good idea. Some could see it as a paranoid way of hiding, but it's not."

Further adding, "People who run sensitive Pages from their own Facebook should now consider that their identity may be known, while mistakes happen, this one is unexpected."


Data Privacy on Alert; Facebook, Whatsapp and Others Fear The Personal Data Protection Bill?


The latest amendments in the “personal data protection bill” of India could make Facebook and other data consuming platforms lose sleep over enhanced government powers.

On Tuesday, the Personal Data Protection Bill was passed around in the parliament which could have strong consequences on the way the organizations store, process and use public data.

The newest addition to the bill is the stipulation that endows the Indian government to demand from a company the “anonymized” personal and non-personal data for better government services.

Per the bill, any information that could aid in identifying a person and possesses characteristics, traits or any attributes of a person’s identity could be defined as “personal data” and the rest as non-personal.

For the leading tech-organizations, personal or non-personal, the data is valuable. And these new provisions brought out by the bill are issues of major concern.

Reportedly, an official strongly taking the government’s stand mentioned that the “personal data” is as valuable to the society as it is to the tech-companies.

They also mentioned something along the lines of making use of data from cab organizations like “Uber” to comprehend the limitations of Indian public transport and what could be done for its betterment.


There is no specific mention as to what the data shall come in exchange for or any other ensuing rules as to the processes regarding it.

Per the bill, personal data such as biometric details and financial data could be transferred beyond the boundaries of India for processing purposes but must be stored locally.

Allegedly, the media platforms in question could also need to provide a structured procedure for users to “prove their identities” and “display a verification sign publicly”. This could cause major companies to face major technical issues.

Dreading the possibility of furthered compliance costs, the countries across the globe have been pushing their agencies to go against such rules.

Per reports, these fresh exceptions that the bill makes available for the government could be alarming for India’s privacy situation which isn’t as strong as all that.

The bill that shall soon be presented in the parliament will definitely not be passed in this session and only after further voting and discussion should any results be declared.

Facebook Files a Lawsuit Against a Company for Running Malicious Ads?



Reportedly, Facebook filed a lawsuit against a “Chinese Company” that allegedly put user accounts at large only to put up suspicious ads on the platform.

The running and distribution of advertisements which were about “counterfeit goods” and “dietary pills” was the only purpose of compromising the accounts in question.

The aforementioned company, per reports, goes by the name of “ILikeAD Media International Company Ltd.” It is, according to sources represented by the authors of the malware scheme, namely, "Huang Toa" and "Chen Xiao Cong".

Purportedly, the aforementioned authors apparently employed two basic ploys to mask their actual aim.

Using images of celebrities, aka “celeb bait” to lure people into clicking on them is one of them and the other happens to be something called “Cloaking”.

Cloaking refers to the act of hiding something from the Facebook systems so that the real destination of a link and advertisement is concealed.

The ad after getting clicked on would lead the users to the genuine “landing page” whereas Facebook would be tricked into seeing a version that’s legitimate according to the policies and terms of the advertising policies.

Per Facebook, in most cases, Cloaking is foolproof as it hardly ever leaves tracks behind, making it pretty tough to realize the identity of actors. This majorly happens to be the reason why there are no specific rules about this.


Reportedly, another attack along the same lines was observed when fake PDF file editor was being pushed only to steal Amazon and Facebook session cookies. The malware at work, per reports, goes by the name of “Socelars”.

Along with session cookies, other data like access tokens, email addresses, credit card information, account IDs et cetera have allegedly constituted a part of the compromised data.

The cookies are later on used to link with several Facebook URLs where one among them accesses the “account_billing” directory.

The information allowing users to call a Facebook Graph API and extract data from the users’ Ads Manager settings is the major part of what’s inside the directory.

The malware which was being distributed via numerous websites was in actuality a new “Trojan” which had almost nothing in common with the other types.

There’s no knowing if the above-mentioned malware has anything to do with the organization that Facebook sued but it surely suits the description.

All the users who had fallen prey to the schemes pulled off by the cyber-cons were handsomely compensated for, along with getting their accounts secured and free of any unauthorized access.

Facebook is very well aware of the jeopardy its users almost got into and is all-in for taking precautionary measures to erase any chances of repetition.

Facebook Might Be Secretly Spying On You via Your Phone's Camera


The social media giant that has been the constant subject of backlash quite a several times in the past, is once more in the limelight, with a bug that covertly opens the iPhone's camera background while casually scrolling through the Facebook feed.

The issue was first hailed by a Twitter user, who goes by the name Joshua Maddux. He shared a video wherein his phone's camera can be seen to be active in the background as he scrolls through his Facebook feed.

He tweeted, "Found a @facebook #security & #privacy issue. When the app is open it actively uses the camera. I found a bug in the app that lets you see the camera open behind your feed. Note that I had the camera pointed at the carpet."

Many iPhone users were left stunned to discover their iPhone's camera automatically running in the background when they opened Facebook.

Facebook has acknowledged the existence of the bug and is searching for approaches to fix it. The company's Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen tweeted that "sounds like a bug" and the social networking platform was investigating.

He later affirmed that there was, in fact, a bug and it appears to just affect iPhone users running the most recent iOS 13 software.

He tweeted, "We recently discovered our iOS app incorrectly launched in the landscape. In fixing that last week in v246 (version246), we inadvertently introduced a bug where the app partially navigates to the camera screen when a photo is tapped. We have no evidence of photos/videos uploaded due to this,"

This could be another protection related to 'lapse' from Facebook. The company has consistently been highlighted for its privacy policies and it has additionally been the one that had to even pay around a record USD5 billion fine for neglecting to ensure people's data, the biggest fine forced by the US regulator against a tech company ill date.

Facebook used user data to control competitors and rivals


Leaked documents from a lawsuit filed by a now-defunct startup Six4Three on Facebook shows some 700 pages revealing how Facebook leveraged user data against rivals and offered it up as a sop to friends.

NBC News reported how Facebook's executive team harnessed user data and used it as a bargaining chip to manipulate rivals. There are thousands of leaked documents to support that this was done under the supervision of the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg.



NBC News has published an entire log of documents containing 7,000 pages including 4,000 internal communications such as emails, web chats, notes, presentations, spreadsheets on Facebook. These documents are dated between 2011 and 2015 that disclose the company's strategy of rewarding partners by giving them preferential data while denying the same to competitors.

The lawsuit that resulted in this major leak, was filed by Six4Three, a now inoperative startup which created the failed app Pikinis. The app allowed users to view pictures posted by people on Facebook and in order to work, the software required access to data on Facebook. The suit accuses Facebook of misusing and abusing data and uneven distribution of it. Other apps including Lulu, Beehive ID, and Rosa Bandet couldn't do business anymore after losing access to data.

The documents also revealed similar operations, for instance, the social network company gave extended access to user data to Amazon, as it partnered with Facebook and spent on Facebook advertising while denied data to MessageMe, a messaging app when it grew large enough to be a competition to Facebook.

Commenting on the documents, Facebook’s vice president and deputy general counsel, Paul Grewal, told NBC News, “As we’ve said many times, Six4Three — creators of the Bikinis app — cherry-picked these documents from years ago as part of a lawsuit to force Facebook to share information on friends of the app’s users.” However, no evidence has been provided by the company to support the "cherry-picked" claim.

In March, this year Zuckerberg said, that Facebook would focus more on its user's privacy as the social network's future. But for Facebook, privacy seems like a PR stunt and data more of a currency.

End of Facebook encrypted messaging?


The United States, United Kingdom and Australia, in an open letter, dated 4 October urged Facebook to create backdoors into its encrypted messaging apps to grant law enforcers faster access to private messages. This would help the government to tackle child abuse, terrorism and organized crimes.

The open letter was signed by UK home secretary Priti Patel, the US Attorney General William Barr, Acting US Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and the Australian minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton on the grounds that cross-platform messaging encryption threatens public safety. It also aligns with UK and US’s agreement of “world-first” data access that will make cross border access to data easier and faster.

Earlier this process took from six months to a year however this agreement will speed up the process by weeks to even days as it will permit law enforcers to demand data directly from the company without asking the country’s government first.

Head of online child safety at the NSPCC Tony Stower said, “The landmark agreement between the US and UK on accessing data will radically reduce the time it takes for police to get hold of the data they need from tech giants to bring offenders to justice.
"It should be a hugely important step forward in tackling online child abuse - if tech giants play their part too."

What is End to End Encryption?

In End to End Encryption, the key to access the message is only with the sender and the recipient, even the platform can’t access the content. And, to access the content the platform needs to add backdoors that they themselves and government can access.

Facebook owned, WhatsApp already has end to end encryption and in March 2019, following the data scandal and Facebook's incompetence to protect its user’s data, Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to incorporate this encryption in messenger and Instagram.

With this open letter the governments of US, UK and Australia are pressuring Facebook to pause its plans of encrypting all messages. To which Facebook stand in opposition saying "people have the right to have a private conversation online." Facebook states that it is "consulting closely with child safety experts, governments and technology companies and devoting new teams and sophisticated technology" to keep people safe.

Privacy or Public Safety 

The letter chiefly focuses on child abuse and exploitation, considering the risk of easy access to offenders and criminals with encryption. In 2018, Facebook reported 16 million child-exploitation tips last year, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said that Facebook’s proposal to encrypt its popular messaging program would turn the platform into a “dream come true for predators and child pornographers.” (Sc Reuters)

The letter supports encryption but with backdoors that grants government “a means for lawful access to the content of communications”

Facebook spokesperson said “We believe people have the right to have a private conversation online, wherever they are in the world. Ahead of our plans to bring more security and privacy to our messaging apps, we are consulting closely with child safety experts, governments and technology companies and devoting new teams and sophisticated technology so we can use all the information available to us to help keep people safe.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the letter “ an all-out attack on encryption” and the organization cautioned that such measures could pose a risk to journalist and activists and could be used by “authoritarian regimes... to spy on dissidents in the name of combating terrorism or civil unrest.” (Sc Forbes)

User Accounts and Phone Numbers Exposed; Confirms Instagram


Social Media Giant and Instagram senior, Facebook affirms that a newfound security vulnerability may have put the user data in danger, leaving many open to attack by 'threat actors'.

The vulnerability is said to be so strong to the point that through it the attacker would effectively access 'secure' user data like the users' real names, Instagram account numbers and handles, and full phone numbers.

An Israeli hacker known by the handle @ZHacker13 found the vulnerability with Instagram and said that misusing it would empower an attacker utilizing a multitude of bots and processors to manufacture an accessible/attackable database of users, bypassing protections protecting that information.

The attacker utilizes a simple algorithm against Instagram's login form, checking each phone number in turn for those linked to a live Instagram account, and since there is no restriction on the number of algorithms that can be kept running in parallel, the attacker can do it as many number of times as he wants.


After this while exploiting the advantages of Instagram's Sync Contacts feature he can figure out how to discover the account name and number linked to the phone number.


Anyway as of now, there is no proof that any user data has been misused or mishandled via utilizing this vulnerability—in any case; on the other hand, there is no proof that it hasn't.

Probably the fact that the endeavour required two separate procedures may imply that the attackers have chosen to withdraw.

Meanwhile, @ZHacker13 tested his Instagram exploit post Facebook's fix and affirmed that it no longer worked.

Facebook exposes 400 million user phone numbers


Security researchers have found a trove of more than 400 million Facebook users containing phone numbers on an unprotected server.

TechCrunch found a database on a server without any protection or encryption, meaning anyone could have found and accessed the database of users.

The database include 419 million records included unique Facebook IDs and the phone number listed on the account. Some also included the user's birth date, location and gender.

"This dataset is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people's ability to find others using their phone numbers," the statement said.

"The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised. The underlying issue was addressed as part of a Newsroom post on April 4th 2018 by Facebook's Chief Technology Officer."



Facebook Dating Service available in 20 countries


Facebook has launched one of its most awaiting features; Facebook dating service in the United States and other 19 countries for its users who are above 18 years or older.

Currently, dating feature would be available in countries including US, Bolivia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Laos, Guyana, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Philippines, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Columbia,  Vietnam, and Malaysia.

Facebook said that they would launch a dating service in Europe in early 2020. While there is no word when they would launch the service in South East Asia.

"Today people are asked to make a decision as to whether or not they like someone immediately based on a static profile. To help you show, rather than tell, who you are, we're bringing Stories to Dating," Facebook blog post.

The user can create a dating profile, which will be entirely different and separate from the main profile.  People can integrate their Instagram posts in a dating profile, by the end of the year, and they would be able to add Instagram followers to their Secret Crush lists, in addition of their Facebook friends.

"By the end of the year, we'll make it possible to add Facebook and Instagram Stories to your Dating profile too,"  Facebook wrote in a blog post.

The dating service won't match you with your  Facebook friend until you choose to use Secret Crush and your crush too should have added you to their crush list.

"All of your Dating activity will stay in Facebook Dating. It won't be shared to the rest of Facebook," said the company.

"Finding a romantic partner is deeply personal, which is why we built Dating to be safe, inclusive and opt-in. Safety, security and privacy are at the forefront of this product," blog post.

US: Investigators can Use Fake Social Media Profiles to Monitor Potential Visa Seekers





US Citizenship and Immigration Services officers, who were previously banned from creating fake social media profiles, can now create such profiles for the purpose of monitoring social media information of foreigners attempting for visas, citizenship and green cards.

On Friday, the ban was overturned in the review of potential privacy issues conducted and posted online by the Homeland  Security Department.

Explaining the need for the reversal of the ban, a statement by USCIS said that locating evidence of fraud and cross verifying the information for security reasons will be made easier for officers and investigators while deciding whom to allow inside the US.

The concerned State Department took several other steps which included asking applicants applying for US visa to provide their social media handles. However, it is ambiguous how resorting to fake social media identities would be carried out successfully as the terms and conditions of major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter would clearly be violated while impersonating.

Commenting on the matter, Twitter said in a statement, "It is against our policies to use fake personae and to use Twitter data for persistent surveillance of individuals. We look forward to understanding USCIS's proposed practices to determine whether they are consistent with our terms of service,"

As per the DHS document, the investigating officers are restricted from interacting or conversing with people on various social media platforms and are only allowed to review and verify information passively. Although a lot of social media activity can be viewed and hence reviewed without an account,  certain platforms still keep within bounds the access for the guest users.

Referencing from the remarks made by Dave Maass, a senior investigative researcher for the civil liberties advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, use of fictitious accounts "undermines our trust in social media companies and our ability to communicate and organize and stay in touch with people."

"It can't be this double standard where police can do it, but members of the general public can't." He added.

Facebook to rename WhatsApp and Instagram






Facebook is planning to rename its two social media platform WhatsApp and Instagram as “WhatsApp from Facebook” and “Instagram from Facebook” respectively.

It came as a shock, as many users still doesn’t know that Facebook own these popular apps.

 Till now, the company allowed both the companies to operate as independent brands. They have their own managers, employess, and even sepearate work places. 

However, in recent times, Facebook has taken steps to make WhatsApp and Instagram less independent. 

“We want to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook,” a spokeswoman, Bertie Thomson of the company said.

According to the report, the new name will be displayed only on the app store pages on both Android and iOS. The new names will also be visible on the login pages. 




FTC slaps Facebook with record $5 billion fine








The Federal Trade Commission has finally approved a hefty fine of $5 billion on Facebook over the company’s privacy policies.

The settlement has left Mark Zuckerberg on a very rocky position within the company and has immensely damaged it. 

The agreement says that the company should establish  an internal privacy oversight committee, "removing unfettered control by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg over decisions affecting user privacy.” 

“The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC," said FTC Chairman Joe Simons when announcing the settlement. "The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations."

Although, the settlement did not hold Facebook executives, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, personally responsible for the privacy violations. 

Zuckerberg welcomed and settlement in a blog post, and said that the structural change will help the company to grow more. 


"These changes go beyond anything required under US law today," he said. "The reason I support them is that I believe they will reduce the number of mistakes we make and help us deliver stronger privacy protections for everyone."

Google, Facebook tracking porn preferences of users








Researchers at Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pennsylvania found out that Google and Facebook are tracking users porn consumption data, even in incognito mode. 

The experts analyzed 22,484 porn sites and 93 percent of them send data to several domains that are owned by third-party companies.

“[E]veryone is at risk when such data is accessible without users’ consent, and thus can potentially be leveraged against them,” write the authors. “These risks are heightened for vulnerable populations whose porn usage might be classified as non-normative or contrary to their public life.” 

According to the study, Google is the No.1 company who receives data from the third parties. The research found that Google or its subsidiaries had trackers on 74% of the pornography sites, while  Facebook had trackers on 10% of the sites. 

“[M]any sites and apps include code from other parties of which users are typically unaware,” the authors say. “Such ‘third-party’ code can allow companies to monitor the actions of users without their knowledge or consent and build detailed profiles of their habits and interests.”

Only 17 percent of all the analyzed sites in the research sample were encrypted. More ever, 49.97 percent of porn site URLs expose or strongly suggest the identities, sexual orientation, and intimate interests of visitors.

“[T]hese porn domains contain words or phrases that would likely be generally understood as an indicator of a particular sexual preference or interest inherent in the site’s content,” the researchers say. [T]hese might also likely be assumed to be tied to the user accessing that content.”

The study found that only 17 percent of porn sites have a privacy policy and encrypted data transfer. 


“The policies were written such that one might need a two-year college education to understand them,” the authors note. 

Israeli spyware firm NSO can mine data from social media accounts









An Israeli spyware firm has claimed that they can scoop  user data from the world’s top social media, the Financial Times report. 

The powerful malware Pegasus from NSO Group is the same spyware that breached WhatsApp data earlier this year. 

The firm said that this time their malware can scrap data from the servers of Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. 

According to the reports of the Times, the NSO group had “told buyers its technology can surreptitiously scrape all of an individual’s data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, according to people familiar with its sales pitch”.

However, the companies spokesperson denied the allegation in a in written statement to AFP’s request for comment. 
“There is a fundamental misunderstanding of NSO, its services and technology,” it said.

“NSO’s products do not provide the type of collection capabilities and access to cloud applications, services, or infrastructure as listed and suggested in today’s FT article.”

In the mean time, Amazon and Google told AFP that they have started an investigation on the basis of report, but so far found no evidence that the software had breached their systems or customer accounts.




Facebook fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal










US regulators the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a fine of $5 billion on Facebook to settle an investigation into Cambridge Analytica scandal, reports in US media. 

The commission was investigating the data breach that that affected more than 87 million Facebook users. 

The main focus of the investigation was to find out whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement which prohibits companies from obtaining users data without notifying them. 

"With the FTC either unable or unwilling to put in place reasonable guardrails to ensure that user privacy and data are protected, it's time for Congress to act," US Senator Mark Warner said.

The fine of $5bn was sanctioned by the FTC in a 3-2 vote with Republican commissioners in favor and Democrats opposed.

According to the New York Times report the Democrats wanted to take stricter action against the firm,  while other Democrats criticized that the fine is too less.