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Facebook's "free" Internet offers no security or privacy

2015-05-06 10:10 by
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Facebook has launched to try to bring free Internet access to people in emerging economies who can't afford it. However, it turns out that the otherwise "free" service has actually a price. Several aspects of the "open platform" show that it's not really very open at all.

Users in India already have access to Facebook's initiative. In exchange, Facebook has their personal data and therefore can advertise to them. According to's terms of use:

"We may share information such as your phone number or data usage with your mobile operator so we can provide and improve our services, and to enable us and your operator to understand how you are using and interacting with and the carrier's products and services."

Facebook has also been criticized that it only allows access to its social network and a very limited number of websites through platform, which is actually not a free access to the world wide web. To respond to the critics, the company has opened up its program to developers, allowing them to create third-party Internet services and apps using the website's platform.

There are a few catches though. Those services and apps can't be encrypted or employ the secure hypertext protocol (HTTPS), a common method of securing website activity. Also, the apps must not be data-intensive. This means no videos or high-resolution photos or voice and video chats. Facebook's platform won't allow users to view pages utilizing JavaScript as well.

"It's not philanthropy," says Nikil Pahwa, part of the activist group "It isn't giving people access to the internet. It's giving people access to only Facebook and a few other sites. This a move by Facebook to become even more dominant. "It's a very dangerous thing for the entire world, not just India, because Facebook is not the internet. The internet is millions of sites and we must preserve that diversity."

Read more -here-


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