August 14, 2018

Report: “Huge New Facebook Data Leak Exposed Intimate Details Of 3 Million Users”

From New Scientist:

Data from millions of Facebook users who used a popular personality app, including their answers to intimate questionnaires, was left exposed online for anyone to access, a New Scientist investigation has found.

Academics at the University of Cambridge distributed the data from the personality quiz app myPersonality to hundreds of researchers via a website with insufficient security provisions, which led to it being left vulnerable to access for four years. Gaining access illicitly was relatively easy.

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The data sets were controlled by David Stillwell and Michal Kosinski at the University of Cambridge’s The Psychometrics Centre. Alexandr Kogan, at the centre of the Cambridge Analytica allegations, was previously part of the project.

Facebook suspended myPersonality from its platform on 7 April [2018] saying the app may have violated its policies due to the language used in the app and on its website to describe how data is shared.

More than 6 million people completed the tests on the myPersonality app and nearly half agreed to share data from their Facebook profiles with the project.

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myPersonality wasn’t merely an academic project; researchers from commercial companies were also entitled to access the data so long as they agreed to abide by strict data protection procedures and didn’t directly earn money from it.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: An Update on Our App Investigation and Audit (via Facebook; May 14, 2018)

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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