back to article Australia sues Facebook for slurping user data from Onavo Protect VPN app

Australia’s competition and consumer commission (ACCC) has hauled Facebook into the nation’s Federal Court for alleged false, misleading or deceptive conduct. The suit rests on the behaviour of Onavo Protect, a VPN app that Facebook acquired in 2013 and said would protect users’ privacy. But by 2018 security analysts asserted …

  1. mmm_yeah

    > This included details about Onavo Protect users’ internet and app activity, such as records of every app they accessed and the number of seconds each day they spent using those apps.

    Isn’t that what Microsoft collects from Windows users by default (and full browsing history if using Edge)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whether or not someone else also does it is completely irrelevant.

      I assume you're trolling.

      1. mmm_yeah

        They aren’t suing Microsoft and that’s relevant.

        I assume you’re trolling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Facebook is worse

          Than Microsoft has ever been.

          Zuck is an odious human being. Nothing more needs to be said.

          At least you can easily avoid having anything to do with the Redmond Mafia.

          The Facebook Cult is harder to ignore. That little 'f' on millions of web pages is their (Facebook's) gateway into your life. You can block it but it takes effort and skills that most people simply don't have.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Facebook is worse

            I wouldn't discount Microsoft so easily, though.

            I caught them doing some questionable things too, things that aren't talked about now.

            It's just easier to point at Facebook because it all concentrates in one miserable creature called Zuck, whereas MS has more morphed into a sort of Borg collective..

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          But MS aren't saying that this will protect your privacy...

          They are monitoring an OS for usage, the OS which they write, and therefore have some claim to have a legitimate reason to collate statistics about how that OS is used...

          And users have various choices to make (or so I'm told) about how much monitoring to allow and indeed to switch OS if they don't want any.

          Here we have FB saying "Using this will *increase* your privacy, whilst actually decreasing it".

          That denies the customers the opportunity to choose a different provider on the basis of a stronger privacy policy.

          *that*'s why they're being hauled over the coals, not just because they are the current "most evil" company (and hence management).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Normalised behaviour

      If a company popped out of nowhere and did this they would be pilloried. For Facebook this is normalised behaviour for which they get no punishment.

      Society works because most people play by most of the rules most of the time, occasionally aberrants pop up who have no moral compass or self-restraint and they just walk over everything.

      I personally will be glad when the house of cards of facebook collapses.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You missed a bit

      From the article:

      Australia’s beef with Facebook alleges it “misled Australian consumers by representing that the Onavo Protect app would keep users’ personal activity data private, protected and secret, and that the data would not be used for any purpose other than providing Onavo Protect’s products.”

      It's not the data collection that's the problem, it's the misrepresentation. Microsoft's "we collect your data, and you only get an off switch if you're an Enterprise" position was relatively open. The legal status of not having an off switch, and defaulting to 'on', is another debate entirely.

  2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge
    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm not seeing it, even when logged out.. Has it been changed?

      By the way, in your profile you can disable these generic stock images. https://account.theregister.com/edit/settings

  3. Potemkine! Silver badge

    It stayed some kind of private ,fecesbook kept the data for itself... maybe.

    For the ones believing feck!book promises, I've got an Eiffel tower to sell, and I can also make you young forever, bring back your lover who left, and cure any disease known or not. Just trust me.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Stop

    “deprived Australian consumers of the opportunity to make an informed choice"

    I'm sorry, they made the choice to use a Facebook product. Don't tell me they're not aware of what Facebook is. There are largely enough posts about The Zuck for people to know exactly what it is that Facebook does : mine your life.

    1. Felonmarmer

      Re: “deprived Australian consumers of the opportunity to make an informed choice"

      And for those who thought they were protected by UK privacy laws when they signed up...

      https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/dec/15/facebook-move-uk-users-california-eu-privacy-laws

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: “deprived Australian consumers of the opportunity to make an informed choice"

      Yes, from personal experience, i have to tell you most people are not aware of what Facebook is. They have no idea their personal life is under a microscope.

      I have had to sit down personally and individually with all my relatives to explain this in detail, using small words. Sure, most of my friends understand, because they're computer savvy. The normal man in the street is not, and is not aware of Faecesbook's slurping.

    3. DarkwavePunk

      Re: “deprived Australian consumers of the opportunity to make an informed choice"

      I don't think that it's too much of a stretch to imagine that your average person might expect the P part of VPN to actually reflect reality especially if it was indeed touted as being such.

    4. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

      Re: “deprived Australian consumers of the opportunity to make an informed choice"

      I don't care that it's Facebook and in this case, and in this case it was under a different name. I cannot see "F" "B" or "K" in "Onavo Protect VPN". I'm just disappointed that ACCC aren't forcing Facebook to delete all data collected through "Onavo Protect VPN" It seems that "All that sweet sweet profiling data" is what Facebook really care about, so make them delete it.

    5. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: “deprived Australian consumers of the opportunity to make an informed choice"

      a lot of people still don't know that Facebook own WhatsApp and Instagram.

      For many of the users it was not owned by Facebook when then started using it.

      What's my Facebook alternative in your view?

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