A VPN Designed to Spy On You
February 14, 2018 4:43 PM Subscribe
Facebook has begun promoting a new "Protect" feature in its mobile app, which will send you to the App Store to download a VPN service called Onavo. Gizmodo: "Millions of people use VPNs to enhance their privacy online. But that is not Onavo’s function....The company is actually collecting and analyzing the data of Onavo users. Doing so allows Facebook to monitor the online habits of people outside their use of the Facebook app itself. "
Marketing Onavo within Facebook itself could lead to a boost in users for the VPN app, which promises to warn users of malicious websites and keep information secure – like bank account and credit card numbers – as you browse. But Facebook didn’t buy Onavo for its security protections.How-To Geek:
Instead, Onavo’s VPN allow Facebook to monitor user activity across apps, giving Facebook a big advantage in terms of spotting new trends across the larger mobile ecosystem. For example, Facebook gets an early heads up about apps that are becoming breakout hits; it can tell which are seeing slowing user growth; it sees which apps’ new features appear to be resonating with their users, and much more.
When you turn Onavo Protect on, however, you are routing all of your internet traffic through Facebook’s servers, where the information is decrypted for them to see. The Wall Street Journal published an article about this last year, but you don’t even need to dig that much to find this out—Onavo Protect tells you about it when you first open the app:Each of the links above note alternative VPN services that don't send all your activity to Facebook.
When you use our VPN, we collect all the info that is sent to, and received from, your mobile device. This includes info about: your device and its location, apps installed on your device and how often you use those apps, the websites you visit, and the amount of data you use.
This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps and data. Because we’re part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.
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