Facebook Privacy Debate: A CIA Funded Company Reportedly Scanning Chats but Facebook Rejects the Claim.
A developer has claimed on Hacker News that a third-party agency is continuously scanning private chats on Facebook. The developer observed this feature while testing an application that was set up in a non-published area. As a result, unusual activity was noticed when the app’s link was transmitted via Facebook chat and afterword numerous IPv6 originated for a single check on Facebook.
Furthermore, it was also observed that forced IPv4 and a URL’s tracked logs were also freshly created and transmitted through Facebook chat, according to the Bosnadev’s Blog Post.
After the Facebook checking of the URL no further activity was observed for at least three minutes and the next hit from the logs was the “Recorded Future” signature. Apparently, “Recorded Future is an American-Swedish start-up backed by both Google Ventures and American intelligence agencies.”
The agencies also claim that their patented Web Intelligence Engine is analyzing the open web continuously.
However, in this statement the term Open Web seems rather inappropriate because the agency was scrutinizing links that weren’t published anywhere else and were only transmitted through Facebook chat.
Moreover, an interesting aspect is the current focus of “Recorded Future” are militant terrorist organizations like the ISIS, Cybercriminals and all sorts of “public” web usage that may be linked to probable threats.
It was identified that there is supposedly no such thing as privacy on Facebook and this isn’t surprising to us because Facebook often has been criticized for its privacy features for years. However, in response to these claims, Facebook and Recorded Future have denied any knowledge or involvement in such a feat.
The firm Recorded Future identifies real-time risks on the web by gathering and analyzing internet sources. It is a private firm and majority of its clients are also private firms. However, it also has ties with the government thanks to CIA’s investment from its investment wing. This connection actually alarmed conspiracy theorists.
It is but obvious that the company has openly and categorically denied scanning of Facebook chat messages. While talking to Business Insider, Recorded Future spokesperson stated: “We have no idea what the guy is referring to. We only get Public/Open Facebook data, and certainly have no interest nor any technical ability to get to any chat data at all.”
“Our systems followed this URL after it was posted on a public site. Our system constantly explores links published on the web. We’ve checked our logs and confirmed that this is what happened in this specific case. It’s not related to any Facebook chat messages containing this link. Our system doesn’t access that information,” according to Bosnadev’s comment on Hacker News.
Moreover, Facebook also categorically affirmed that there is no collaboration between the social network and Recorded Future.
“While investigating the claims of this post, we’ve confirmed that Facebook doesn’t use Recorded Future — an open source aggregation of public data — to scan any private content. That means we haven’t partnered with or directed Recorded Future to scan anyone’s message links. It’s hard to tell precisely what’s going on based on the amount of information in the post. It’s possible that another interaction, including one that could be occurring on the client machine, is consuming the URL and generating this behavior.”
In an exclusive conversation with the Bosnadev researcher, HackRead was told that despite Facebook denial they firm will carry on looking into the matter.
Facebook has always been under criticism for sharing user data with the government and intelligence agencies, yet it has never accepted spying or tracking its users.
The European Commission recently told that there were serious privacy issues concerning users’ data and those looking for privacy should leave Facebook.