Facebook Apps: access given to postal address and mobile phone number
January 17th, 2011 - 09:10 am ET by J. G.
Facebook third party application developers now have access to additional personal information of Facebook users. Postal addresses and mobile phone numbers are now visible.
New personal information will be made available to Facebook third party application developers. Postal addresses and mobile phone numbers will now be requested after updating the Social Graph API.
Of course, to access such personal information considered as sensitive, the users will have to explicitly agree that they allow access, with a dialogue box to appear asking if they agree when they try and install an application.
Facebook states that friend’s addresses and phone numbers are not provided if a user gives permission to the sharing of their information. Not surprisingly, this new information has raised some concerns with some users. Once again, Sophos was the fastest to raise their concerns about such a move. The British security company generally reacts quickly to Facebook’s announcements to raise concerns about information security.
For Sophos, this new access will open up even more opportunities for identity theft by cybercriminals through the development of malicious applications which are sometimes promoted to users through posts made to their wall with a corresponding link.
The editor obviously places little confidence in the majority of Facebook’s users to discern safe applications from dangerous ones, and are afraid that permission to access such data will be given too quickly. A Sophos consultant, Graham Cluley states that everyone who shares this concern should simply delete their postal address and mobile phone number from their profile.
Even if this has been raised as an issue due to Social Graph, a simple "phone number" search on Facebook demonstrates that there are many users who publically share their telephone number...