Facebook denial makes more clear its power to spy on Android texts, phone calls

'Times' story mistakes 'could spy' for 'is spying;' Facebook splits hairs on what 'spying' means

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Especially in tech companies filled with people curious about what their customers are doing, eager to see if cool new search or networking tools work or network managers eager to estimate the speed and volume of Android text networks, the difference between "are" monitoring and "could be" monitoring is a lot narrower than anyone at Facebook appears willing to admit.

According to Mackenzie, Facebook's confirmation consisted of the following:

    Facebook explainer sent to Sunday Times, acc to Iain Mackenzie:
  • Facebook is currently running a limited test of mobile features which integrate with SMS functionality.
    • SMS read/write is not currently implemented for most users of the mobile app.
    • As part of this test, we declared the presence of that functionality within our app store permissions starting with the 1.7 version of our application.
    • If Facebook ultimately launches any feature that makes use of these permissions, we will ensure that this is accompanied by appropriate guidance/educational materials.

Resulting writeup in the paper:

"Companies are using smartphone apps to extract vast quantities of private information about users’ lives, in some cases reading their text messages and intercepting calls.

"Among those that admitted reading text messages this weekend was the internet giant Facebook, which said it was accessing the information as part of a trial to launch its own messaging service.

Facebook Android App Texting Permissions:

This application has access to the following:

    Your messages:

  • Edit SMS or MMS: Allows application to write to SMS messages stored on your device or SIM card. Malicious applications may delete your messages.
  • Receive SMS: Allows application to receive and process SMS messages. Malicious applications may monitor your messages or delete them without showing them to you.
  • read SMS or MMS Allows application to read SMS messages stored on your device or SIM card. Malicious applications may read your confidential messages:
  • send SMS messages:Allows application to send SMS messages. Malicious applications may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.

    Your Personal Information:

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