‘Unusual Surveillance Activity’ In DC; 4 Senators Demand Answers…

By Melissa Locker

In a story straight out of Spy vs Spy, unusual cellular activity has been detected around Capitol Hill, and now four U.S. Senators want some answers.

A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Homeland Security asking for details about the cellular activity. The surveillance activity is akin to so-called stingrays that are used by law enforcement agencies to trick suspects’ cellphones into revealing their locations, according to Reuters.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security revealed that it had “observed anomalous activity in the National Capital Region that appears to be consistent with International Mobile Subscriber Identity catchers.” It claimed not to know who was behind the use of the surveillance devices.

In the letter, the senators asked the Trump administration to release details about the possible surveillance. “The American people have a legitimate interest in understanding the extent to which U.S. telephone networks are vulnerable to surveillance and are being actively exploited by hostile actors,” the senators wrote in the letter reviewed by Reuters.

Stingray devices mimic cellphone towers in order to force cellphones in the area to transmit “pings” back to the devices, enabling law enforcement to track a suspect’s phone and pinpoint its location. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said at a commission meeting on Tuesday that the issue was serious and surveillance tools could potentially be in use “by foreign or criminal actors.” Or, you know, the show-runners for Homeland.

Facebook says it tracks non-users but doesn’t ‘sell people’s data’

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If you have logged out of your Facebook account – or have never even had one – the US social network giant is still keeping close tabs on you, tracking every virtual move, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

David Baser, the company’s product management director, admitted in a recent blog post that Facebook receives data about visitors to any websites that use the so-called “social plugins,” such as “Like” and “Share” buttons.

“When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account,” Baser said in the blogpost on Monday. He rushed to emphasize, however, that this is how the modern internet works and that all companies, including Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn operate in a similar way, while Google has a popular analytics service. Besides, Amazon, Google and Twitter all offer plugin features and thus collect user information, he noted.

“These companies — and many others — also offer advertising services. In fact, most websites and apps send the same information to multiple companies each time you visit them.”

Facebook collects user and non-user internet protocol (IP) addresses, as well as information about the browser and the operating system they are using. The company also tracks the “identifiers that websites use to know if you’ve visited before,”commonly known as cookies.

“I want to be clear: We don’t sell people’s data,” Baser stressed. The company insists there are only “three main ways” in which Facebook uses the information it gets from other websites and apps: “providing our services to these sites or apps; improving safety and security on Facebook; and enhancing our own products and services.”

Privacy concerns have plagued Facebook after it acknowledged last month that information about millions of users was shared with consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. Grilled by US lawmakers for almost five hours on Wednesday, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook collects “data on people who are not signed up for Facebook,”adding that this is done “for security purposes” only.

“You’ve said everyone controls their data, but you’re collecting data on people that are not even Facebook users who have never signed a consent, a privacy agreement,” Zuckerberg’s questioner, Representative Ben Lujan, a New Mexico Democrat, hit back, notingthat the practice creates “shadow profiles.”

Zuckerberg maintained, however, that Facebook does not sell anyone’s data and that users can control who has access to whatever they share via “inline” settings. Facebook is not listening in on users, he noted, after Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana) presented him with several personal anecdotes suggesting otherwise.

“Facebook doesn’t do this, and I’m not familiar with companies that do either,” Zuckerberg said“We’re not collecting any information verbally,” and “don’t have anything that’s trying to listen to what’s going on in the background.”

And yet, critics argue that Zuckerberg has not said enough about the extent of data gathering and its use. “It’s not clear what Facebook is doing with that information,” said Chris Calabrese, vice president for policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a Washington advocacy group.

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Whistleblower Testifies Facebook Listens to You EVERYWHERE—Here’s How To Stop It

By Matt Agorist

In June of 2016, as Instagram celebrated reaching 500 million monthly users, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, posted a photo of himself enjoying the moment. The photo quickly went viral, not because people like Zuckerberg, but because it showed the owner of a company—that requests permission to record through your camera and microphone—with tape over both his camera and microphone. Now, we know why.

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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christoper Wylie, appearing before a committee of British MPs on Tuesday, delivered a bombshell testimony noting that Facebook has the ability to spy on all of its users in their homes and offices.

Wylie is testifying before the British parliament as it investigates the role of the now infamous Cambridge Analytica firm in the Brexit election. The chairman of the committee, MP Damian Collins came right out and asked Wylie if Facebook has the ability to listen to what people are talking about in order to better target them with ads.

“There’s been various speculation about the fact that Facebook can, through the Facebook app on your smartphone, listen in to what people are talking about and discussing and using that to prioritize the advertising as well,” Collins said. “Other people would say, no, they don’t think it’s possible. It’s just that the Facebook system is just so good at predicting what you’re interested in that it can guess.”

As TFTP has previously reported, Facebook has admitted that its app has the capability to listen to what is happening around it. Wylie went on to confirm this and put it into shocking perspective, illustrating that Facebook can listen to you to find out where you are.

“On a comment about using audio and processing audio, you can use it for, my understanding generally of how companies use it… not just Facebook, but generally other apps that pull audio, is for environmental context,” Wylie said. “So if, for example, you have a television playing versus if you’re in a busy place with a lot of people talking versus a work environment.” He clarified, “It’s not to say they’re listening to what you’re saying. It’s not natural language processing. That would be hard to scale. But to understand the environmental context of where you are to improve the contextual value of the ad itself” is possible.

Wylie continued: “There’s audio that could be useful just in terms of are you in an office environment, are you outside, are you watching TV?”

Naturally, Facebook denies that it uses a user’s microphone to show them ads.

“I run ads product at Facebook. We don’t – and have never – used your microphone for ads. Just not true,” Rob Goldman, vice president of ads products at Facebook, tweeted on October 2017. “That includes Facebook-owned Instagram,” he added.

However, as TFTP has previously reported, Kelli Burns, a mass communication professor at the University of South Florida, has said that the tool appears to be using the audio it gathers not simply to help out users, but might be doing so to listen in to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising. She says that to test the feature, she discussed certain topics around the phone and then found that the site appeared to show relevant ads.

Although Facebook claims they do not listen in on conversations, the catch here is that Facebook does have access to your phone’s microphone — as giving permission to access your microphone is a requirement to be able to download the site’s mobile app – thus giving the company the ability to access your phone’s mic at any time.

According to a report in Forbes:

This is not the first time Facebook was accused of listening to conversations using smartphone microphones. Reddit user NewHoustonian started a discussion last year about whether the Facebook app was listening to conversations for advertising purposes. NewHoustonian started off the discussion with a post — which has since been removed — about how he suspects the Facebook app was listening to him because he started seeing pest control ads after talking to his girlfriend about killing a cockroach. That Reddit thread now has over 1,700 comments in regards to Facebook listening to conversations and several of those comments refer to similar experiences.

Additionally, police in Belgium have warned citizens to not use Facebook’s recently added Reactions feature if they are concerned about safeguarding their personal privacy.

Whether Facebook is actually listening is debatable, but the ability to listen certainly exists given the fact that each person with the mobile app has already given the company permission to access their phone’s microphone. Thankfully, there is an easy solution for those that don’t trust the social media giant with access to their microphone.

One simple way is to uninstall the app altogether and simply access Facebook from the mobile site itself, thus never having to give any permissions to access your data or microphone.

Another fix is to turn off the microphone in a phone’s settings, which is relatively easy to do. Since this is done at the operating system level, doing so will mean that Facebook loses the ability to access your microphone completely.

On an iPhone this can be done by entering the app’s settings.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Microphone.
  4. Tap the Facebook switch to turn it off.

On Android it is just as easy.

  1. Launch Settings app on your Android device
  2. Tap Apps
  3. Scroll down and tap Facebook
  4. Tap Permissions
  5. Tap the Microphone button to switch it off.

While Facebook claims that they may not be actively listening to your conversations, the idea that you have given permission for the company to access your microphone and text message data simply by downloading and installing the app is certainly disconcerting for those completely unaware that they have given such privacy-shattering permissions to Facebook.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appearedFollow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Facebook.

FBI looked into Trump plans to build hotel in Latvia with Putin supporter

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Riga, the capital of Latvia. Photograph: Nicole Kucera/Getty Images/Flickr RF

US authorities made inquiries even before 2016 election campaign into Trump property dealings in former Soviet Union

They wanted to build the Las Vegas of the Baltics.

In 2010, a small group of businessmen including a wealthy Russian supporter of Vladimir Putin began working on plans to build a glitzy hotel and entertainment complex with Donald Trump in Riga, the capital of Latvia.

A senior Trump executive visited the city to scout for locations. Trump and his daughter Ivanka spent hours at Trump Tower with the Russian, Igor Krutoy, who also knows compatriots involved in arranging a fateful meeting at the same building during the 2016 US election campaign.

Then the Latvian government’s anti-corruption bureau began asking questions.

The Guardian has learned that talks with Trump’s company were abandoned after Krutoy and another of the businessmen were questioned by Latvian authorities as part of a major criminal inquiry there – and that the FBI later looked into Trump’s interactions with them at Latvia’s request.

Those involved deny that the inquiry was to blame for the deal’s collapse.

Latvia asked the US for assistance in 2014 and received a response from the FBI the following year, according to a source familiar with the process. Latvian investigators also examined secret recordings in which Trump was mentioned by a suspect.

This means the FBI looked into Trump’s efforts to do business deals in the former Soviet Union earlier than was widely known. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, is now investigating other Trump dealings with Russians as part of his wide-ranging criminal inquiry into alleged collusion between Moscow and members of Trump’s 2016 campaign team.

The Riga developers saw their potential partner in New York as a ticket to lucrative western revenues.

“They were very proud to be talking with Trump,” said Andrejs Judins, a Latvian Unity party MP, who has been a vocal critic of the prosecutor general’s decision to close the corruption inquiry in 2016 without pursuing charges.

Krutoy, a well-known composer in Russia, has written music for Emin Agalarov, the Russian singer whose father hosted Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow. Krutoy attended the contest, where he was photographed with Trump.

Emin once named Krutoy as one of his closest friends in music. Public records show the Krutoys and the Agalarovs owned neighbouring houses in New Jersey in the 1990s, and now own condominiums in the same luxury complex in Florida. Krutoy said he considered the Agalarovs as acquaintances rather than friends.

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Igor Krutoy, Donald Trump and Aleksander Serov in Moscow during the festivities around Miss Universe 2013. Photograph: web

In June 2016, the Agalarovs were involved in setting up a meeting at Trump Tower with senior campaign officials that is now a flashpoint for Mueller’s investigation. Emin’s manager emailed Donald Trump Jr beforehand to say the Agalarovs had dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Trump Jr responded enthusiastically.

Krutoy, 63, was a celebrity representative for Putin’s 2018 election campaign and has received major state honours from the Russian government for his music.

He was born in Ukraine and is also a close friend of Rinat Akhmetov – a Ukrainian steel tycoon who in 2005 hired Paul Manafort, Trump’s future campaign chairman, as an adviser. Krutoy said he did not know Manafort, who has been charged by Mueller with financial crimes and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Yet Trump’s brush with Krutoy has gone largely unnoticed amid intense scrutiny of the president’s financial links to Russia, which is accused by US intelligence agencies of attacking the US election system in 2016 in an effort to help elect Trump.

The Latvian talks began without fanfare. David Orowitz, Trump’s senior vice-president for acquisitions and development, discreetly visited Latvia in September 2010 to explore locations, according to one source. The island of Zakusala, in Riga’s Daugava river, emerged as the likeliest site.

In June 2011, Krutoy and two associates met Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka, at Trump Tower in Manhattan to discuss the possible development, according to Krutoy and Viesturs Koziols, a well-connected Latvian businessman who was one of the other attendees. Ivanka Trump is now a senior White House adviser.

The businessmen were also ushered in to see Ivanka’s father in his office, they said. Koziols said the meetings were scheduled for 40 minutes but lasted four hours.

“We had an extraordinarily good meeting with Ivanka,” said Koziols, who added that he and Donald Trump “shook hands as possible partners”.

The discussions centred around developing a permanent venue for New Wave, an annual musical talent contest that Krutoy co-founded. A comparison with Las Vegas was made in an attempt to catch Trump’s eye, according to one person familiar with the discussions.

“The idea was that we could use the hotel during the festival for the singers and musicians, and we could use the concert hall for performances,” Krutoy told the Guardian.

Krutoy flew to Riga and in July gave a press conference about the Trump talks alongside Ainārs Šlesers, a flamboyant Latvian businessman and former deputy prime minister, who was assisting the efforts to secure Trump’s involvement.

“By attracting the attention of such a serious investor like Trump, we can think about directing New Wave towards a western European audience,” Krutoy said at the time.

Šlesers said in August 2011 that he, too, met Trump in New York and discussed the Riga collaboration “several times” with Ivanka Trump. Detailed plans went back and forth with the Trump Organization, which signaled a willingness to press ahead, according to one person involved.

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/embed/2018/03/trump-conex/index.html

During the following weeks, however, difficulties arose. Krutoy was called in for questioning by Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB), which had recently embarked on an investigation that became known locally as the “Oligarchs Case”. No allegations were made against Krutoy, he was never charged, and he denied any wrongdoing.

But Šlesers was a central figure in the inquiry, suspected of using public office to influence decisions on property developments benefiting companies he secretly owned. He and Koziols were also questioned in 2011. They denied any wrongdoing and were not charged. Šlesers did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Discussions with the Trumps about developing the complex in Riga ground to a halt. People who were involved deny that the KNAB investigation was to blame. Koziols said he and his associates simply could not secure enough external financing.

During a visit to Riga in May 2012, Donald Trump Jr acknowledged that his family had explored the potential Latvian development. “We were talking,” he told reporters, after being asked about Krutoy’s group. “We went back and forth for a little while. Nothing went forward, but it’s an area that we are interested in.”

At the heart of the Latvian inquiry were secret recordings of meetings involving suspects at a hotel in Riga. According to leaked transcripts published by the magazine IR, Šlesers was heard telling a potential investor in February 2011 that he had “an agreement with Trump” after meeting him in New York, and that they were “ready to make the Trump Plaza Riga”. Šlesers did not respond to a request for comment by IR.

Apparently keen to chase down this line of inquiry, Latvia made an official request for judicial assistance from the US in February 2014. The interest from Latvian authorities in Trump was first reported last year by Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze of Riga.

Latvia’s request was described to the Guardian by two sources who have reviewed it but were not permitted to discuss it publicly.

The Latvian authorities asked for Trump himself to be interviewed for their inquiry, according to the sources. At least one Trump Organization executive did speak with FBI officials, and the company provided written answers to additional questions.

The US did not formally respond until September 2015, the sources said. By then, Latvian investigators were close to concluding their case, and appear not to have pursued the link with Trump any further.

Alan Garten, chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, said he could not recall whether the company had received a request for information relating to Latvia. “But if we were contacted by the authorities, we would have certainly cooperated,” Garten said in an email.

The FBI, justice department and Latvian authorities declined to comment.

Igor Krutoy with Emin and Aras Agalarov, at a birthday party for Aras Agalarov in November 2015.
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 Igor Krutoy with Emin and Aras Agalarov, at a birthday party for Aras Agalarov in November 2015. Photograph: web

The Agalarovs denied any wrongdoing. Their attorney, Scott Balber, said: “The Agalarovs did not introduce Mr Krutoy to the Trumps and had no involvement in any discussions between Mr Krutoy and the Trumps. The Agalarovs did not know the Trumps in 2011.”

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump’s attorney, said: “Work and meetings Ms Trump had five years before the election, which had nothing to do with the election, are not relevant topics to which we will respond.”

The blunted conclusion to the Oligarchs Case remains a source of intense frustration to anti-corruption campaigners in Latvia. Judins, the MP, examined the case on a special commission and said it exposed “state capture” in his country.

“I think there was enough evidence for the prosecutor to continue this case,” said Judins. “But he said no.”

 

 

‘Facebook will NEVER sell your information without consent’: Mark Zuckerberg’s claim in a 2009 interview is revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

‘Facebook will never sell your information without consent.’ That is the impression Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was keen to give during a 2009 interview, but events in recent weeks suggest that was not the whole story

By Tim Collins

 

  • Snowden shared the footage in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal

  • The consulting firm bought data from 50 million unsuspecting Facebook users

  • Zuckerberg is pressed on his firm’s handling of data during the interview

  • Asked if Facebook would sell data, Zuckerberg responded ‘No, of course not’ 

‘Facebook will never sell your information without consent.’

That is the impression Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was keen to give during a 2009 interview, but events in recent weeks suggest that was not the whole story.

Video footage of the conversation was posted to Twitter by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

It follows revelations that the Trump-affiliated consulting firm obtained data on at least 50 million unsuspecting Facebook users.

This information was used to target voters in the US, based on psychological profiling, with political adverts spreading disinformation.

Facebook is also facing criticism for collecting years of data on call and text histories from Android users.

Snowden sent a tweet yesterday containing a video that showed Zuckerberg addressing privacy concerns on his website.

In the tweet, the former CIA computer specialist implored his followers to spread the clip beyond the social media site, attaching a download link to the original file.

The interview was conducted by the BBC journalist Laura Trevelyan, who pressed Zuckerberg on his firm’s handling of data.

Their conversation ran as follows:

Ms Trevelyan: So who is going to own the Facebook content, the person who puts it there, or you?

Zuckerberg: The person who puts the content on Facebook always owns the information, and this is why Facebook is such a special service.

Ms Trevelyan: And you won’t sell it?

Zuckerberg: No, of course not.

Ms Trevelyan: Just to be clear, you’re not going to sell, or share, any of the information on Facebook?

Zuckerberg: We’re not going to share people’s information except for with the people that they’ve asked for it to be shared.

Zuckerberg’s public 2009 promise is in stark contrast to his private thoughts at the time of launching his Facebook.

Video footage of the conversation was posted to Twitter by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The former CIA computer specialist implored his followers to spread the clip beyond the social media site, including a download link to the original file

During an instant messenger conversation with a friend at the age of 19, he branded early users of his social network ‘dumb f***s’ for trusting him with their data.

First picked up on by the media in 2010, these comments have also re-surfaced in the wake of Cambridge Analytica.

The leaked conversation was published in a Medium blog post by journalist Maria Bustillos.

Ms Bustillos said it shows that Zuckerberg has a long history of disregarding the privacy expectations of users over handling of their data.

The conversation, which has since been discussed widely on social media, ran as follows:

Zuckerberg: Yea so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard, just ask. ‘i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns

Facebook is giving its privacy tools a makeover as it reels from criticisms over its data practices and faces tighter European regulations in the coming months.

The changes won’t affect Facebook’s privacy policies or the types of data it gathers about its users.

But the company hopes its 2.2 billion users will have an easier time navigating its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings.

Facebook is giving its privacy tools a makeover as it reels from criticisms over its data practices and faces tighter European regulations in the coming months. This image shows how the settings will appear before (left) and after (right) the redesign 

Facebook says it’s trying to make the controls easier to find and to give users a simpler way to access and download the data it collects on them.

The announcement follows revelations that Trump-affiliated consulting firm got data on millions of unsuspecting Facebook users.

Facebook is also facing criticism for collecting years of data on call and text histories from Android users.

In a written statement, Erin Egan, vice president and chief privacy officer, policy, and Ashlie Beringer, vice president and deputy general counsel, said: ‘Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data.

This image shows a redesign of Facebook’s privacy tools. The changes won’t affect Facebook’s privacy policies or the types of data it gathers on users, but the company hopes users will have an easier time navigating its complex settings menus

Among the changes, Facebook is making data settings and tools easier to find, is introducing a new privacy shortcuts menu, and is adding tools to find, download and delete your Facebook data

 

‘We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we must do more to keep people informed.

‘We’re taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people more in control of their privacy.

‘Most of these updates have been in the works for some time, but the events of the past several days underscore their importance.’

Among the changes, Facebook is making data settings and tools easier to find, is introducing a new privacy shortcuts menu, and is adding tools to find, download and delete your Facebook data.

Friend: what!? how’d you manage that one?

Zuckerberg: people just submitted it. i don’t know why. they “trust me”. dumb f***s.

Zuckerberg may have been saved from the current privacy backlash had he listened to his rival, the late Steve Jobs, it seems.

Footage of the former Apple boss warning over Facebook’s handling of private data dating from 2010 has also re-appeared in recent days.

Speaking at the time of a previous privacy row involving the social network, Jobs warned that privacy rules should be spelled out in ‘plain English and repeatedly.’ 

Footage of the late Apple boss Steve Jobs, pictured here in 2007, warning over Facebook’s handling of private data dating from 2010 has also re-appeared in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal

Jobs made the comments at The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) All Things Digital conference, held in Los Angeles, where Zuckerberg was in the audience, waiting to be interviewed.

Walt Mossberg, the WSJ’S principal technology columnist from 1991 to 2013, asked Jobs about his thoughts on recent privacy issues around Facebook and Google, as well as Silicon Valley’s stance on handling sensitive data.

Facebook was at the time in the process of updating its privacy controls, in light of criticism that it was forcing people to share their data.

Google, meanwhile, had been accused of secretly intercepting Americans’ data sent over unencrypted Wi-Fi routers during a two-year period.

In response, Jobs said: ‘Silicon Valley is not monolithic. We’ve always had a very different view of privacy than some of our colleagues in the Valley.

‘Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English, and repeatedly.

‘I’m an optimist; I believe people are smart, and some people want to share more data than other people do.

‘Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data.’ 

‘A lot of people in the Valley think we’re really old-fashioned about this, and maybe we are, but we worry about stuff like this.’ 

Zuckerberg took out full-page adverts in nine major US and British newspapers over the weekend to apologise for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In the ads, the Facebook founder vowed to clamp down on allowing third parties access to data which can be sold on.

Mark Zuckerberg, pictured here in July 2017, took out full-page adverts in nine major US and British newspapers over the weekend to apologise for the data privacy scandal. The breach saw details from 50 million Facebook users leaked to political activists

The ads, done in simple black text against a plain white background, were headlined: ‘We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.’

‘You may have heard about a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014,’ the apology begins.

‘This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.’ 

‘We’ve already stopped apps like this from getting so much information. Now we’re limiting the data apps get when you sign in using Facebook.’ 

‘We’re also investigating every single app that had access to large amounts of data before we fixed this. We expect there are others. And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.’

‘Finally, we’ll remind you which apps you’ve given access to your information – so you can shut off the ones you don’t want anymore.’

‘Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you.’

The apology is formally signed off by the 33-year-old Facebook chief.

The Facebook data scandal deepened over the weekend after users found the social network had harvested information including call logs and text messages.

Some users discovered the Silicon Valley giant had been storing complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

Others reported that data such as contacts in their address books, social events in their calendars and even friends’ birthdays had been stored.

One user, Dylan McKay, reported that from October 2016 to July 2017 his logs contained ‘the data of every [mobile] call I’ve made, including time and duration’ and ‘data about every text message I’ve received or sent’.

Rather than delete an account entirely, the social media site encourages people to ‘deactivate’ their profile as this leaves all personal data on its servers.

However, when users request to permanently delete their accounts, the site suggests: ‘You may want to download a copy of your info from Facebook.’

Emma Kennedy tweeted that she had found that Facebook had recorded ‘every single phone number in my contacts.

Facebook is also facing criticism for collecting years of data on call and text histories from Android users. Facebook user Dylan McKay revealed Facebook logged every mobile call he’d ever made

‘They had every single social event I went to, a list of all my friends and their birthdays, and a list of every text I’ve sent’

‘They have plundered my phone. They have phone numbers of people who aren’t on Facebook. They have phone numbers of household names who, I’m sure, would be furious to know their phone numbers are accessible. I’m appalled.’

A Facebook spokesman said: ‘The first time you sign in on your phone to a messaging or social app, it’s a widely used practice to begin by uploading your phone contacts.

‘Contact uploading is optional. People are expressly asked if they want to give permission to upload their contacts from their phone – it’s explained right there in the apps when you get started.

‘People can delete previously uploaded information at any time and can find all the information available to them in their account and activity log from our Download Your Information tool.’

The company says an opt-out for uploading contacts is available and users can delete all uploaded contacts by turning off the continuous uploading setting in Facebook’s Messenger app.

All previously uploaded contacts are deleted when a user permanently removes their profile. Contacts will also no longer continue to be uploaded.

WHAT IS THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SCANDAL?

Communications firms Cambridge Analytica has offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia.

The company boasts it can ‘find your voters and move them to action’ through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists.

‘Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections,’ with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.

The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.


This meant the company was able to mine the information of 55 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.

This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters’ choices at the ballot box.

The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump and Barack Obama.

This information is said to have been used to help the Brexit campaign in the UK.
Read more: 
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Reminder: Liberal hero Robert Mueller lied about Iraq’s non-existent WMDs (VIDEO)

CIA Director George Tenet (L) and FBI Director Robert Mueller listen to remarks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats to U.S. security, on Capitol Hill, February 11, 2003. © Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

The 15th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq has evoked many inconvenient memories for America – including the fact that Russiagate heartthrob Robert Mueller lied about Iraq’s WMDs, paving the way for war.

Currently serving as the head of an “independent” investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, Mueller wasn’t always hailed by liberals as a brave crusader for democracy and truth. Actually, the liberal love affair with Mueller is a rather recent phenomenon.

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A month before the ill-fated invasion began, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller endorsed the Bush administration’s bogus case for war with Iraq. On February 11, 2003, Mueller testified before Congress that, “as Director Tenet has pointed out, Secretary Powell presented evidence last week that Baghdad has failed to disarm its weapons of mass destruction, willfully attempting to evade and deceive the international community. Our particular concern is that Saddam Hussein may supply terrorists with biological, chemical, or radiological material.”

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Mueller’s other high-integrity accomplishments is overseeing an FBI gone wild, in which “thousands” of people in the United States – particularly those of Arabic origin – were “rounded up” as part of the bureau’s post-9/11 “anti-terrorism”efforts. “Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seem to be essentially PR purposes. Field offices were required to report daily the number of detentions in order to supply grist for statements on our progress in fighting terrorism,” one FBI special agent recalled.
Mueller’s FBI also blamed the wrong guy for the 2001 anthrax mailings. (The wrongfully-accused anthrax-shipper was cleared of wrongdoing – six years after being declared a “person of interest” in the case.)

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In a more recent triumph, Mueller testified in 2013 that the National Security Agency’s vast, secretive domestic surveillance program aimed at ordinary Americans could have “derailed” the 9/11 attacks. Yet another ringing endorsement for truth and freedom.

Apparently unconcerned by his well-documented history of deceit and investigative fumbles, the mainstream media continues to hail Mueller as a shining beacon of integrity.