Facebook and WhatsApp are not the only ones that could be collecting our data

More and more consumers of social networks are more aware that the services and benefits they give us they are not free. Initially we thought that we were subjects of their advertising and that it was "fair" to be exposed to it because that was the way in which these social networks made possible the continuation of the provision of their service. Subsequently, targeted advertising was consolidated as an advertising model for social networks, which led to the necessary collection of our data to ensure that the advertising content does not reach an audience totally indifferent to what is offered, but at least reaches them to an audience with a greater purchase intention.

Now, we see ourselves in the scenario in which information continues to be collected to transfer it to associated companies for different uses, or even to "improve the services themselves" without the consumers being able to do more than continue accepting policy after policy, precisely because already almost it is unimaginable to live without such social networks. We have become its captive consumers and the dependency relationship grows stronger and stronger.

Without being a consolation, at least these companies tell us what information they collect and what will be the uses that they will give them so that we are informed of the activity to which our data is subjected. However, there is the possibility that our data is processed without our consent and worse, without even knowing that this is happening.

Proof of this is what happened in Portugal. Two Portuguese citizens were charged by Facebook for developing browser extensions that extracted user data through the Facebook page. In that sense, Jessica Romero, director of the Facebook execution and litigation platform he pointed:

"Chen people installed these extensions in their browsers, they were installing hidden code designed to extract their information from the Facebook page, but also information from users' browsers that were not related to Facebook".

What information did they access? Name, user identification, gender, marital status, age group, among others.

What are these extensions? Blue Messenger, Emoji Keyboard and Green Messenger; which are still available in the Chrome virtual store.

Facebook has asked a Portuguese judge that the company “Oink and Stuff” (responsible for these extensions) delete all the data of Facebook users that it acquired illegally.

The creation and commercialization of data banks can become a highly lucrative activity, for this reason, it is likely that in a short time the forms of illegal data collection will grow, so, once again, we must be very attentive regarding the different data collection sources.

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Marilú Lazo
Lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). Director of The Crypto Legal Blog, she has experience in corporate advice, consumer protection, as well as in matters of personal data protection and new technologies.


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