New Facebook App Monitors Your Phone Calls

The newest Facebook app (for Android), out today, will monitor phone call state and caller identity information. It will, of course, report the same back to Facebook. That’s if you accept installation of the app.

Presumably, the Apple iPhone and iPad counterparts will do the same; the difference being that users won’t be notified… the added surveillance privileges afforded to the app by the operating system will be granted silently.

Other privacy invading features the newest Facebook app has that you may not like? It can record audio and video, and take pictures, without your knowledge.

On Android devices, it’s easy to see what capabilities an app has. The problem is, you, as the user, don’t have granular control over these capabilities. It’s all or nothing. If you don’t like the privacy implications of the app, you must either accept them, or remove the app from your device. There’s no middle-ground.

Apple iOS devices also lack granularity, with the exception of location services. Worse, it’s difficult to impossible to determine what security permissions are granted to a particular app.

It’s important to note that, even if you trust the app AND the app provider, there is always the possibility that a third party will find a way to hi-jack the app for their own nefarious uses. This famously occurred last year with Skype where it was widely reported that governments, businesses, and criminals were using spy software developed by a firm in Italy that allowed surreptitious use of the microphone and camera on devices used by surveillance targets.