Who is Downloading the Facebook Data?

Gizmodo ran a story about who is downloading the files with the information about 100 million facebook users.   http://gizmodo.com/5599970/major-corporations-are-downloading-those-100-million-facebook-profiles-off-bittorrent

It turns out that lots of people are. The story says companies, such as Motorola, IBM, Apple, and Disney, among others, are downloading the data. Organizations such as the United Nations made the list as well. Although the story doesn’t go on to theorize as to why these organizations are downloading the data it does concede the downloads may not be condoned by the companies mentioned.

There are many possible explanations, the uglier being that the companies wanted 100 million free email addresses, but I doubt that it is often the case. If I was an IT manager I would want to know what data about employees I protect has gone public and advise them. As an IT professional I would want to verify the content to know what information is actually there. It is quite possible that IT professionals at these companies downloaded the list because they are actually doing their job. It is also quite probable that some employees downloaded the list simply out of curiosity.

No doubt some spammers hiding behind anonymous proxies also downloaded the list and I would be far more concerned about them than the legitimate organizations with employees who downloaded the list.

When it comes right down to it, who you know is downloading the list is probably far less important than who you don’t know is downloading the list.

Randy Abrams
Director of Technical Education

Author , ESET

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