The latest revelation regarding Facebook privacy, or the lack of it, is worth a look. Because even when something claims to protect you, that may not entirely be the case.
Facebook attempted to have us download a VPN app called Onavo for iOS and Android. The idea, according to Facebook, was that it would help provide protection against threats coming through an encrypted network. This is especially helpful when using a public network.
The protection feature is accessed by clicking on the main menu and then scrolling down through the “Explore” section. It is the light blue icon with a shield and the word “Protect,” and upon being clicked it will take you to download an app.
Tapping the “Protect” link actually opens the download page for a VPN app called “Onavo Protect – VPN Security.” Note: Facebook bought the Onavo company back in 2013.
Now, a VPN service is a good way to boost your online security and privacy, especially when connected to public Wi-Fi. It is also a good way to hide your internet tracks from would-be snoops. Think of it as a middleman that provides a tunnel between you and the websites you’re visiting.
Onavo Protect promises just that – “it helps keep you and your data safe when you browse and share information on the web.”
What’s causing the uproar? Well, under the “How it works” section on the Onavo Protect app’s description are some interesting statements.
It explicitly states that “Onavo collects your mobile data traffic.” Now, this in itself will raise some eyebrows since most VPN services pride themselves with the anonymity of their traffic. Good VPN services neither keep logs and records nor collect “traffic data.”
Another statement is equally troubling. Onavo states that since they’re part of Facebook, they will use this data to “improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.”
And you probably know what that really means. They’re the code words for “targeted advertising.”
So basically, Onavo Protect is a somewhat clever way to direct all your mobile data, not just your Facebook app activity mind you, but everything you do on your phone, right into Facebook’s hands.
To effectively stop the app from collecting your data, you will have to completely uninstall the Onavo VPN app from your iPhone or Android gadget.