Facebook wants you to believe that you gave them your mobile phone number for security reasons and important notifications. The truth is that they wanted your phone number and your address to be able to share it more.
The Huffington Post reports that Facebook is going to make your address and phone number available to “application developers”. Privacy and security experts are confident that sharing this information will expose users to greater risk of being scammed.
According to Facebook users will be alerted if an application is requesting access to their phone number and address, but if you trust Facebook then look here to see what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thinks about you.
I highly recommend that you do not make your address and phone number available on Facebook. Remember that your privacy settings do not apply to applications that ask permission. Personally I do not install any Facebook apps at all. If a Facebook application asks to be able to access your personal information and you have your privacy settings set to only share information with your friends, then by installing the app you have just defeated your privacy settings. You have to remember that when you give an app permission to access your personal information you give it the freedom to publicly display every message you ever wrote to anyone… private or not.
Yes, let me make sure you understand this. If you give an app permission to access your personal information, it is out of your hands and it is out of Facebook’s hands. The new changes in Facebook allow you to allow unknown app publishers to share your address, phone number, and other information with anyone they choose to.
The “privacy policies” the apps come with are virtually worthless. You generally have no idea who is behind the app and virtually no recourse if the app publisher abuses your information.
If you have provided your phone number and address to Facebook you might want to go into your profile and delete the information so that if you accidentally give an app permission to access your phone number and address it will not find any information. Alternatively you can google the phone number and address of Facebook and put that as your phone number and address! Perhaps we all should do that!
The days of the search warrant are coming to an end. With Facebook people are making so much public that law enforcement simply will no longer need such instruments.
Director of Technical Education
Cyber Threat Analysis Center
ESET North America
Author ESET Research, We Live Security