Facebook Privacy Blunder Highlights Online Security Gaps

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Facebook and the corporate media are trying to downplay a glitch that exposed the personal information of 6 million users. The problem occurred with their Download Your Information tool when it was revealed that additional email addresses and telephone numbers of user contacts were automatically shared. Facebook asserts that this gap has so far been proved benign, since it occurred only between previously authorized contacts.

Nevertheless, it highlights the fact that even the leader of social media can be caught off-guard by a security lapse that can affect a huge number of people. And it isn’t the first time.

As mentioned in the video below, the last Facebook security issue was slightly less than benign when the FTC investigated them for exposing users’ personal details without legal consent. It’s possible that this new breach could bring another investigation and possible lawsuits.

If we add this new “glitch” to the revelations from the NSA spying program, where it has been shown that the government can connect directly to the servers of the major Internet players, it is time for each of us to become more tech savvy in protecting our data and communications from both government and the proven mistakes of corporate behemoths like Facebook.

This time the problem was supposedly benign and fixed quickly, but what else has not been revealed, or has been swept under the carpet? Neither the government, nor their corporate partners have thus far met the standard of full transparency.

Full transcript of video report with research links posted below…

Facebook Bug Shares Contact Info of 6 Million Users

by Scott Malone

It’s another leak! But not the kind involving the NSA or another part of the federal government.

Facebook admitted late Friday it shared the personal e-mail addresses and phone numbers of up to six million users without permission thanks to a software glitch. (Via CNN)

The bug was part of the Download Your Information tool, which lets Facebook users export all the data from profiles — like posts to their timeline and conversations with friends. People using the tool might have inadvertently downloaded the contact info for users they were somehow connected to. (Via Facebook)

Some users upload their contact lists or address books to Facebook. The company then uses that information to suggest new friends to connect with, or invite to the service.

The number of people impacted seems sizable, yet it only affects roughly one in 20 of Facebook’s more than one billion users — so odds are you don’t have to worry. If your info was shared, you should receive a heads up from Facebook via email. (Via WTVJ)

This case comes two weeks after reports that Facebook and other Internet giants — including Google, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo — gave the National Security Agency access to Americans’ email and other personal info. It’s a charge Facebook and the other companies have denied.

Facebook also experienced a similar privacy problem last year, when the Federal Trade Commission found the social network exposed details about its users’ lives without having their legal consent. The FTC then mandated Facebook have regular audits of its privacy practices. (Via NBC)

A writer for CNET says as far as privacy blunders go this current gaffe is pretty minor, but privacy advocates may file lawsuits and the FTC could investigate the matter.

Facebook stresses this newly exposed information was only shared with someone users knew. The social media giant added that developers did not receive any data, and the bug has been fixed.

For more information about how to secure your personal data, visit VirtualThreat.com

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