We’ve written many times about the astonishing amount of data that is being harvested from Apps on both iPhone and Android devices alike. Mobile data privacy is almost constantly under threat from this harvesting, but now a new frightening level of intrusion has been found affecting iPhone users that have downloaded the Facebook App.
Facebook, and Instagram for that matter, are both well documented for the sheer volume of data they harvest and share from their users. Back in July 2021, we wrote an article titled “Which Apps collect the most personal data?” to highlight this issue. So, when you add that information to what you’re about to read here, it’s going to make you think again about that Facebook App sitting on your phone.
And it all starts with the accelerometer.
What is an accelerometer in a mobile phone?
The accelerometer is a small piece of apparatus built into the phone that measures the force of acceleration, either as a result of gravity or by movement. The accelerometer, therefore, will measure the speed of movement of the phone.
But how and/or why would this data help Facebook you ask?
Facebook have stated that “we use accelerometer data for features like shake-to-report, and to ensure certain kinds of camera functionality such as panning around for a 360-degree photo for camera.”
What can the data be used for?
If you consider that the accelerometer will allow Facebook to follow a continuous stream of your movements, it can then easily be used to track your activities or behaviours at specific times of day. This will include particular places that you’ve been, and specifically when you have been interacting with its app.
By understanding your movements, where you are and when you’ve interacted with the App, it can then infer who else was around you at that time, no matter if you actually know them or not, simply by matching identical vibration patterns and using the existing data it has already harvested from your App use.
Can I stop the accelerometer?
The simple answer is, no. Facebook have not asked for your permission to collect the information and has not included any opt-in / out permission toggle, so there is no way for you to switch off the data stream.
How can the Blackphone PRIVY 2.0 help?
Firstly, it’s worth noting that, although the accelerometer can be a useful device when simply switching the screen from portrait to landscape or using the camera, the Blackphone PRIVY 2.0 has been designed so that no access is possible to the data it produces.
It has been created to be secure and private across every aspect of communication, preventing any data harvesting.
The Blackphone PRIVY 2.0 also has a dedicated suite of secure and private Apps preloaded. In addition to these secure Apps, the Blackphone PRIVY 2.0 also has access to a selection of other third party Apps that deliver private, secure and encrypted communications.
These Apps deliver all the functionality that users need from a mobile phone, whilst not weakening any of the security and privacy features.
So, if you’re ready to take your mobile phone privacy and security to the next level, then please call our team to discuss your needs and we’ll be delighted to help you.
And if not... at the very least, delete your Facebook App!