Hong Kong users accuse Facebook and China’s Zao app in violating privacy

In the past few years, Facebook was noticed in scandals related to violation of users’ privacy. Now, the Facebook application has been convicted of collecting information about users’ system libraries and uploading it to the company’s servers. Additionally, experts blame the Chinese face-changing application Zao for manipulating users’ data.

Hong Kong security researcher Jane Manchun Wong drew attention to the problem with Facebook. She noticed that the Android version of the application scans the smartphone, indexes the system libraries and uploads them to Facebook server.

“Facebook scans the system libraries on user’s Android smartphone and uploads them to the server. On Facebook, this is called the Global Library Collector, and appears in the application code as GLC. It periodically uploads the metadata of the system libraries to the server and, apparently, it is impossible to disable the Global Library Collector, as well as to see what exactly is going on the devices. I’m not sure what the GLC task is, but it seems to me that it is used to determine the integrity and compatibility of the system”, – Wong wrote in a message on Twitter.

Jane Manchun Wong
Jane Manchun Wong

In addition, the application compresses each file before downloading, minimizing traffic, and collects user-specific files. It is currently unclear why data is being collected. Facebook has not yet clarified the situation.

Over the past few days, the Chinese Zao face changer has become the leader in the number of downloads in app stores, but many users have begun to express concern about the program’s privacy policy.

Read also: Google expands bug bounty program and will pay for bugs in applications with 100 million installations

The application allows to upload photos and exchange faces with popular movie stars and others. To create an image, users can upload an existing photo or, following the on-screen prompts, take a series of new pictures. However, users noticed a nuance in the Zao privacy policy, according to which it has “free, irrevocable, permanent, transferable and licensed” rights to all user content.

The reaction of users was not long in coming, and a wave of negative reviews fell on Zao, reports The Japan Times. His App Store rating is now 1.9 out of 5 stars.

“We care about privacy. We considered users’ feedback and fixed problems that are not taken into account. It will take a little more time”, – said Zao in an official message on the social network Weibo.

This is not the first time that face-changing applications are causing users concern. In July this year, US senators were seriously concerned about the Russian FaceApp application. According to them, it can pose a threat to US national security, since the personal data of American citizens can be transferred to a hostile foreign power.
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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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