November 23, 2011, 12:29 PM — Given the amount of bad publicity Facebook has been getting about a business plan that depends on persistent, aggressive invasion of privacy, and the likelihood of blowback from customers suffering annoyance-exhaustion, I was wondering which direction the largest social-networking site could possibly turn next.
Could it convert its business model to something more supportive of the privacy of its customers? Would it still be able to make a business if it did? Or would it become Napster-after-the-conciliation? Desperately searching for something to offer that customers will pay for or enough free content to keep a customer base large enough to sell advertising.
I was insufficiently cynical about Facebook's faith in its right to tattle on people who trust it.
Facebook is doubling down on its effort to keep customers connected constantly in order to suck every byte of information from them to feed the marketers and advertisers to whom it sells those customers.
Facebook is investing in the one device through which it can collect even more private data than it could as a social-network provider: location-aware smartphone services.
Facebook hired HTC to design and build a smartphone that "has the social network integrated at the core of its being," according to the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD.
HTC makes some very popular Android phones (EVO 4G, Evo Shift, Droid Eris, Droid Incredible, HTC Titan, HTC Sensation).
HTC also makes three of the 12 most vulnerable smartphones, according to analyst firm Bit9, whose report on smartphone security showed the failure to keep operating systems up to date is the single biggest factor in making them vulnerable.
Of the manufacturers in the study, which take an average of six months to distribute any major OS upgrade to existing customers, HTC is the second-slowest at updating its Android phones.
HTC is also the manufacturer that added a feature called HTCLogger to its phones that collects all the location, contact, search and other data every nosy Android app might want to collect so they can all find it in one place – unencrypted.