Apple’s Privacy Standards Are Sliding

The above video shows the late Steve Jobs explaining Apple’s policy in regards to location data and privacy. Now this may have all been true when he said it, but things are a little different now. What Steve explains sounds nice: Each app having to request permission for location data each and every time they want it. But what happens in the real-world is illustrated perfectly every time I launch the Facebook app on iOS:

Facebook App Location Services

Every single time I open the Facebook app, I see that the locations services icon is active, which means the current app is receiving location data. Even if I’ve just opened the app to see what’s new on my timeline, Facebook is accessing my location data. Why? This is absolutely not what Jobs communicated when he talked about Apple being paranoid about location privacy.

Let’s say I turn off location services for the Facebook app:

Turn Off Facebook Location Services

This is all fine and good if I never want Facebook to use my location data. But what if I’m posting some photos from a camping trip I’m on, and I really would like to include my location data in this post, since I think that may be of interest to my friends. I should be able to tell Facebook they can use my location data just this once, right?

Add LocationSo, the Facebook app is suggesting that I just turn on location services indefinitely, and I’m not given the option to temporarily allow access.

So, what happened, Apple? Why do you always have to know where I am, Facebook? Really?

Facebook: True P2P?

From Mark Zuckerberg’s letter regarding Facebook’s IPO:

By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information. We think the world’s information infrastructure should resemble the social graph — a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring.

I think the term peer-to-peer was misused here. I think I know what Mark is trying to say, but let’s keep this straight, Facebook owns every bit of content that is shared on their site. They are the master gatekeeper of information in being passed around on the site. It is not a decentralized social network. It is owned.

Download Your Facebook Data

Facebook now includes a feature that lets you basically download everything you’ve ever posted, including photos, videos, wall posts, and messages. This allows you to browse your files offline and/or do whatever you want with your files. I could see this being especially useful for those that may want to delete their Facebook accounts, but don’t want to abandon all of the content that is already there.

Continue reading Download Your Facebook Data