VPN sends data to Facebook. A slap in the face?

Feb 2, 2019 10:45AM PST

"To better track what users are doing outside Facebook, the company created a volunteer program called the “Facebook Research App” that functioned as a VPN when installed on phones. The VPN sent data to Facebook, including websites visited, messages sent, photos, videos, and more. The app also required users to install a root certificate, which allowed tracking data that would typically be encrypted. Volunteers had to choose to install the app, and received $20 a month in e-gift cards."

This security breach unearths an ugly truth that all VPNs may not be what they appear to be. I'm sure you noticed folk flock to install a VPN in search of privacy but then there's this showing it can also be a way to collect what you thought was your private data.

Another knock for those Free VPNs?

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Feb 4, 2019 8:32AM PST

I don't understand the point of that.
Users who know Facebook will trace all their actions using VPN still gonna use it? Ridiculous.

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This is also a wake up call for us to question all VPNs
Feb 4, 2019 8:42AM PST

Since a VPN can do this, what tells us other VPNs are not siphoning off data? Nothing at all.

One of the classic security systems is to create choke points where you can examine cars, people, data, etc. When you use a VPN you submitted your Internet traffic to a choke point where instead of hiding your data, you actually gave it all up.

Just like rogue AntiVirus, Malware and other scanners, VPNs can be used to collect our data rather than shield us from such inspection.

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I'm shocked
Feb 4, 2019 2:01PM PST

I'm shocked.. I have to make a research on this question..
Very bad!

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No such thing as a free lunch
Feb 4, 2019 2:31PM PST

And certainly no such thing as free $20 each month in gift cards. I wouldn't blame anyone forsigning up to free services- Facebook, for example- and not knowing that they're really getting their data harvested for profit. I would fully expect someone who is downloading an app titled "Facebook Research App" and getting PAID each month to keep it running to know exactly what they're getting into.

I can't say this characterizes all VPN's. Just that w should be more suspicious about them, especially the free ones. If I were sitting somewhere in China, for example, I'd rather have a free VPN monetize my data than the government tracking my every movement + making sure I'm not speaking ill of the powers that be.

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And apparently no real way to lock out our Governments.
Feb 4, 2019 2:51PM PST
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Feb 5, 2019 7:22AM PST

It looks like Facebook is delivering news half-a-year or so. CA, then massive security breach at the end of last year now (as I understood) developing software to track users outside of Facebook too. I side with Apple on this one.

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