Facebook, Instagram ban developers from using data for surveillance
New York: To curb spying by authorities and other law enforcement agencies, Facebook has banned developers from using data obtained from them to provide tools that are used for surveillance.
In a post on Monday, social networking giant that also own Instagram explained that over the past several months they had taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance, in violation of their existing policies.
“Our goal is to make our policy explicit. We want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply. We also adopt policies that limit how developers, advertisers, and others can use our platform,” said Rob Sherman, Deputy Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook in the post.
According to a report in the Guardian on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has praised the policy reform saying that written policies must be backed up by rigorous oversight and swift action for violations.
“Now more than ever, we expect companies to slam shut any surveillance side doors and make sure nobody can use their platforms to target people of color and activists,” Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties director at the ACLU of California, was quoted as saying.
Civil rights groups have raised their concerns about mass surveillance under Trump administration, and as such, this announcement from Facebook and Instagram comes as a victory for these activists.
“It’s very important right now that tech companies like Facebook take a stand to be human rights champions, because otherwise they’ll be used to violate human rights,” Malkia Cyril, Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice, was quoted as saying.
Centre for Media Justice is a part of a coalition that pushed for the anti-surveillance reforms.
The ACLU had allegedly found that Facebook had let “special access” to Geofeedia — a controversial startup — that was working with law enforcement agencies to track streams of user content.