How Facebook captured Apple users' keystrokes

From Robert Burnson's "Meta Sued for Skirting Apple Privacy Rules to Snoop on Users" posted Wednesday on the Bloomberg:

was sued for allegedly building a secret work-around to safeguards that Apple Inc. launched last year to protect iPhone users from having their internet activity tracked.

In a proposed class-action complaint filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court, two Facebook users accused the company of skirting Apple’s 2021 privacy rules and violating state and federal laws limiting the unauthorized collection of personal data. A similar complaint was filed in the same court last week.

The suits are based on a report by data privacy researcher Felix Krause, who said that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram apps for Apple’s iOS inject JavaScript code onto websites visited by users. Krause said the code allowed the apps to track “anything you do on any website,” including typing passwords.

Responding to the report, Meta acknowledged that the Facebook app monitors browser activity, but denied it was illegally collecting user data...

The Facebook app gets around Apple privacy rules by opening web links in an in-app browser, rather than the user’s default browser, according to Wednesday’s complaint.

My take: Beware the in-app browser.

11 Comments

  1. Robert Varipapa said:
    This is a perfect example of why Apple should ban or at least make it a required option to not use In-App browsers.

    (And why would anyone with a brain use the Facebook App!)

    5
    September 22, 2022
  2. Greg Lippert said:
    If I ever need to open anything on the FB in-app browser (which I actively avoid, both FB and the in app browser) I use open in Safari. Meta is a whole bunch of swarmy s***heads.

    6
    September 22, 2022
  3. Miguel Ancira said:
    Seriously? This brazen and not giving a …t? Did they think this was never getting out? Who makes these decisions?

    4
    September 22, 2022
    • Fred Stein said:
      Upvoted. “Who makes these decisions?”

      By contrast, in Apple, any employee, regardless of rank, would know they could be a whistle blower and not suffer retaliation. Apple’s deep culture of doing the right thing, also de-risks the investment.

      One could write a book. It starts at the top. How was it OK in Volkswagen to cheat on smog cert for years across multiple car models? A: culture. Same for Boeing, Wells Fargo, Enron, Meta, etc.

      4
      September 22, 2022
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    Beware the in-app browser.

    Beware anything Zuck is affiliated with.

    9
    September 22, 2022
  5. S Lawton said:
    One of the many reasons I do not use Facebook

    4
    September 22, 2022
  6. Hmm, Zuck may suffer a fate worse than the wrath of Khan over this latest surreptitious violation of the remaining FB users privacy. Tim Cook will surely have the App Store app approval team carefully review new releases of Meta’s app.
    If the FB app actively conducted the same corporate espionage in EU or other nations, where privacy is more of a government concern than in the US, there will be steep fines and/or banishment.

    4
    September 22, 2022
  7. Robert Stack said:
    “Meta acknowledged that the Facebook app monitors browser activity, but denied it was illegally collecting user data…”

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

    4
    September 22, 2022
  8. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Perhaps another Cambridge Analytica $6 Billion fine is coming? What a magnificent company led by a stellar CEO!

    3
    September 22, 2022

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