Message from Facebook-Is Your Personal Information Safe?
Message from Facebook-Is Your Personal Information Safe?
  • Reporter Kim Su-min
  • 승인 2018.04.18 16:00
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▲Privacy settings of Facebook and help center
▲Privacy settings of Facebook and help center

In March, Facebook, the major Social Network Service (SNS), was confronted with a ‘data scandal’. Christopher Wylie, the former director of research at Cambridge Analytica (CA), exposed that the personal information of more than 87 million users was collected illegally and used in electioneering. It started in 2014. Dr. Aleksandr Kogan from the University of Cambridge, England, developed and distributed a psychological test application called ‘This is your digital life’. It is known that if a Facebook user logs into the application through social log-in, the app developer can access friends list, ‘Likes’, and specific location information of the user. The application used a blind point of Facebook’s policy and about 270,000 people signed up. Through this application, more than 87 million users’ data were collected. Facebook Korea estimated the victims in Korea could reach a maximum of 86,000. After collecting the data, the information was transferred to Cambridge Analytica and CA reportedly provided it to President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, apologized for the data spill three times – on his Facebook (actually, he did not mention ‘apology’ or ‘apologize’ directly), through an interview with CNN, and by whole-page ads in newspapers in the USA and the UK. There are looming suspicions that Facebook made ‘fake news’ about Brexit and even collected the call history of users. Accordingly, the US Congress and the UK Parliament invited Zuckerberg to speak to the committee. He testified before US Congress on April 11, but has declined a summons from the UK Parliament and Facebook has suggested one of two executives could speak to parliament: Chris Cox, the chief product officer, or Mike Schroepfer, the chief technology officer.

In Korea, there are suspicions that Facebook collected the so-called ‘call log’ and the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) has begun to grasp this fact. Call log contains information about when and how long a user has spoken or who they have texted. The KCC summoned the individual in charge of Facebook Korea to ask questions about the purpose and the scope of this information breech, and whether Facebook provided it to third parties without permission. The KCC is checking whether any laws were violated such as Act on the Protection of Personal Information. It is known that the information was collected through the Android application ‘Messenger’ and ‘Facebook Lite’. The iOS forbids collecting call logs through various device policies. Therefore, acknowledging that the Android OS has lax security standards. 

Since most people use the Internet, there have been several data scandals and data spills over the years. There are several ways to keep our personal information safe. One is to delete cookie files regularly. Cookie files contain information of almost everything the user used on a website, such as ID, password, IP, credit card number, purchasing list, and so on. The other way is to double check the statement of consent to use personal information. There are many cases that an application requires access authority to information that does not seem required for the application, such as call history, location information, and photos. If there is no conviction, it is a good idea to refuse permission for these applications.

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