Apple CEO Tim Cook says data tracking is 'totally out of control'

A woman looks at the Facebook logo on an iPad in this

They report that some devices could get information such as religion, political preferences, or relationship status.

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had admitted making a "huge mistake" as personal data of up to 87 million users may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. The company apparently provides user data to device manufacturers; allowing them to access not only the data of those logged into smartphones, but also that of their friends as well.

Information of 294,258 friends of friends was also identified using the Hub app.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, the Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said he was "deeply concerned" by the Times' report, saying it was the "latest example of Facebook only coming forward when forced to do so by a media outlet".

THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook shared users' data with third-party firms making such as Apple, BlackBerry (???), Microsoft and Samsung, according to The New York Times.

Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go.

'Every piece of content that you share on Facebook you own, ' he told a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee.

Facebook has been taking steps to audit any data abuse it uncovers from the past. A crucial part of the consent decree refers to sharing data without user consent.

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The Times specifically takes issue with Facebook's practice of letting these device partners "override sharing restrictions".

Apple said it has stopped using the APIs and that it used them to allow users to post pictures and other information without having to open the Facebook app. The data transfer was based on a connection the phone's software was allowed to make, directly to Facebook's information.

That's right, Facebook - which brought us such hits as Cambridge Analytica and "maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools" - is the real victim here.

"Friends' information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends", he said. "But the problem is that as more and more data is collected on the device-and if it can be accessed by apps on the device-it creates serious privacy and security risks", Serge Egelman, a privacy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies the security of mobile apps, told NYT.

Amazon and Samsung haven't yet provided comment.

Facebook's vice president of product partnerships at the social network, Ime Archibong contests the report, stating that this incident is far from Cambridge Analytica's debacle. They said the new reports only heightened the need for additional scrutiny - in Congress and at the FTC - focused on Facebook's business practices.

In its response to the Times article, Facebook says that with the current dominance of iOS and Android operating systems, it's been "winding down" access of APIs.

The Privacy International campaign group said companies must "protect users' data by default".

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