In a supposed attempt to highlight Facebook’s privacy issues, security consultant Ron Bowes, of Skull Security, has collected and published the personal details of as many as 100 million users of the social network. The details, which include e-mail addresses and phone numbers, are available as a 2.8GB torrent download.
The list that Bowes has published as a downloadable file chiefly contains the URL of every searchable Facebook user’s profile, the name and the unique ID of the user. The file that Bowes has published – and has spread across the net - contains personal details of 1 in every 5 Facebook users, all of whom are presently listed in the Facebook open access directory.
Bowes used a Web crawler program to create the torrent; whereby he gathered data from the public profiles of all those users who have apparently chosen to keep their privacy settings unchanged.
The torrent is legal because, as Facebook has substantiated, it merely uses the information that is already available to public.
Noting that “No private data is available or has been compromised,” Facebook said in a statement: “People who use Facebook own their information and have the right to share only what they want, with whom they want, and when they want. In this case, information that people have agreed to make public was collected by a single researcher and already exists in Google, Bing, other search engines, as well as on Facebook.”
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