'Dead' Facebook Apps Still A Privacy Issue: Expert

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“Dead” Facebook apps and services are still a privacy issue but one that the company is now doing a better job at addressing, according to Neil Hughes, Vice President at One World Identity, an independent advisory firm specializing in the data economy. In a statement provided to AndroidHeadlines, Mr. Hughes praised Facebook’s new policy that prevents third-party developers from accessing user data via apps and services that haven’t been accessed in over 90 days, calling it “a step in the right direction” for the Internet juggernaut.

“Policies like that are a sign that the company is making changes for the better,” the industry veteran said, suggesting more work needs to be done on the privacy front. Facebook has been under fire to do more to protect the privacy of its users ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal became public knowledge in late March, especially as the episode that saw the now-defunct political consulting firm surreptitiously harvest data on tens of millions of users was described as a standard developer policy prior to Facebook’s 2015 change of its terms of service. While some industry watchers such as Mr. Hughes are supportive of the company’s efforts to limit third-party access to user data, others are calling for more unconventional methods of protecting people’s privacy.

The latter group includes Jedidiah Yueh, founder of secure data management company Delphix. Earlier this year, Mr. Yueh told AndroidHeadlines Facebook is too late to employ restriction-versus-access policies and should instead invest in better protecting the data it has while still making sure such information can be accessed by trusted parties, usually in development and testing scenarios. “You don’t become a Facebook by restricting data access to developers,” the technology expert concluded at the time. The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant is still in the process of investigating apps that it suspects might have violated user privacy in the past, having most recently banned online quiz MyPersonality for such a transgression. The European Commission is still looking into the company’s data management practices and recently signaled it may explore the possibility of breaking up its business on antitrust grounds.