Facebook's Privacy-Killing VPN App Gathers User Data Even When It Is Disabled
Facebook's Privacy-Killing VPN App Gathers User Data Even When It Is Disabled

We all know very well that the social network giant Facebook offers a VPN service which the social network acquired in 2013. As it promises more security for its users’ information, but now according to the latest reports, the social network giant Facebook’s privacy-killing VPN app gathers users data even when it is disabled.

Facebook’s Privacy-Killing VPN App Gathers User Data Even When It Is Disabled

The social network giant Facebook offers a VPN service called Onavo Protect, which the social network acquired in 2013. It promises more security for its information, but the privacy policy says the app “looks at how you use apps” and “provides market analysis and other services for affiliates and third parties.”

Basically, this VPN allows the social network giant Facebook to collect your data on your smartphone. And an app review for iOS shows that it gets information even when it’s idle.

A developer known as Will Strafach has discovered that Onavo Protect periodically submits the following data to Facebook (graph.facebook.com):-

  • When the device’s display is on or off.
  • Total daily usage of Wi-Fi in bytes (even when the VPN is off).
  • Total daily usage of cellular data in bytes (even when the VPN is turned off).

The developer, Will Strafach says the app collects device-specific data including carrier name, country code, language, iOS version, and app version. It is a relatively common practice.

To find out exactly what data the application sends to its own servers, it can create a proxy to intercept traffic. However, Onavo Protect uses its own VPN tunnel to transmit everything in encrypted form.

It’s no secret that Onavo is used by the social network giant Facebook to analyze user behaviour in other apps. For example, Mark Zuckerberg decided to increase his investment in Instagram Stories after seeing – through the VPN – that Snapchat was not growing as much as it used to be.

The developer, Will Strafach noted that his analysis left an open question: “Does Facebook use the device ID that Onavo Protect sends to graph.facebook.com in order to associate VPN traffic/browsing habits with your Facebook account?”

The social network giant Facebook suggests that yes, even without responding directly. Onavo says in a statement to 9to5Google:-

“When people download Onavo Protect to help protect your connection, we are clear about the information we collect and how it is used. Like other VPNs, Protect acts as a secure connection, even on public Wi-Fi networks. As part of this process, Onavo receives mobile data traffic. This helps us to improve and operate the Onavo service.

As we are part of Facebook, we also use this information to improve Facebook products and services. We warn people about this activity and other ways that Onavo uses, analyzes, and shares data before it even downloads. We also regularly review our applications and make updates based on feedback.”

One way or another, avoid Onavo Protect and check out alternatives like Private Internet Access or AnonVPN. If you want a free option, try ProtonVPN.

So, what do you think about this? Simply share all your views and thoughts in the comment section below.



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