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Security Researcher Finds Facebook App Is Always Tracking iPhone Movements, Only Way To Stop Is By “Deleting The App”

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A stark new warning for almost all iPhone users, as Facebook is suddenly caught “secretly” harvesting sensitive data without anyone realizing. And worse, there’s no way to stop this especially invasive tracking other than by deleting the app.

Now security researchers have suddenly warned that Facebook goes even further, using the accelerometer on your iPhone to track a constant stream of your movements, which can easily be used to monitor your activities or behaviors at times of day, in particular places, or when interacting with its apps and services. Alarmingly, this data can even match you with people near you—whether you know them or not.

Just like the photo location data, the most serious issue here is that there is absolutely no transparency. You are not warned that this data is being tracked, there is no setting to enable or disable the tracking; in fact, there doesn’t seem to be any way to turn off the feature and stop Facebook (literally) in its tracks.

Researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk warn that “Facebook reads accelerometer data all the time. If you don’t allow Facebook access to your location, the app can still infer your exact location only by grouping you with users matching the same vibration pattern that your phone accelerometer records.”

The article goes on to state the following:

The researchers say the issue impacts Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, albeit with WhatsApp, it’s possible to disable the feature and the platform assured me that no data ever leaves a user’s device. “In Facebook and Instagram,” Mysk told me, “it is not clear why the app is reading the accelerometer—I couldn’t find a way to disable it.” That means you need to delete the app and access Facebook via your browser instead.

“Although the accelerometer data seems to be innocuous,” Mysk says, “it’s jaw-dropping what apps can make up of these measurements. Apps can figure out the user’s heart rate, movements, and even precise location. Worse, all iOS apps can read the measurements of this sensor without permission. In other words, the user wouldn’t know if an app is measuring their heart rate while using the app.”

(Excerpt) Forbes.com

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