Thu, Jun 07, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Chinese firms got Facebook data

NATIVE STORAGE:Huawei, Oppo and others had access deals to integrate Facebook’s services onto their phones, but the data was only stored on the devices, an official said

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

Facebook Inc on Tuesday confirmed that a Chinese phone maker deemed a national security threat by the US was among companies given access to data on users.

Huawei Technologies Co (華為) was able to access Facebook data to get the social network’s applications to perform on smartphones, the California-based company said.

“Facebook along with many other US tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones,” Facebook mobile partnerships leader Francisco Varela said in a statement. “Given the interest from [the US] Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei’s servers.”

Facebook also had data access deals with Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想), Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀) and TCL Corp of China, Varela said.

“Facebook’s integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL were controlled from the get-go,” he said.

Huawei has long disputed any links to the Chinese government, while adding that its infrastructure and computing products are used in 170 nations.

“Concerns about Huawei aren’t new,” said US Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers.”

Contracts with phone makers placed tight limits on what could be done with data, and “approved experiences” were reviewed by engineers and managers before being deployed, Facebook said.

The company said that it does not know of any privacy abuse by cellphone makers who years ago were able to gain access to personal data on users and their friends.

Before apps standardized the social media experience on smartphones, about 60 device makers such as Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, BlackBerry Ltd, HTC Corp (宏達電), Microsoft Corp and Samsung Electronics Co worked with Facebook to adapt interfaces for the Facebook Web site to their own phones, the company said.

Facebook is winding up the interface arrangements with device makers, as the company’s smartphone apps dominate the service.

The integration partnership with Huawei is to terminate by the end of this week, the social network said.

Facebook said it “disagreed” with the conclusions of a New York Times report that found that the device makers could access information on Facebook users’ friends without their explicit consent.

However, the report raised concerns that massive databases on users and their friends — including personal data and photographs — could be in the hands of device makers.

Huawei said that its products “meet the highest standards of security, privacy and engineering in every country we operate” and that “no government has ever asked us to compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices.”

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