A report from the London’s Sunday Times took a look at how mobile apps are encroaching on user privacy, and hit particularly hard on the fact that anyone who downloads the Facebook mobile app is giving over their entire text messaging history to the social networking site. The site apparently used this data as research in the process of developing its own SMS-like messaging service. So far, it has only tapped into the texting inboxes of a handful of users, but it has the power to grab any and all texts if it wants to.
“The permission is clearly disclosed on the app page in the Android marketplace and is in anticipation of new features that enable users to integrate Facebook features with their texts,” a Facebook rep said in a statement. “However, other than some very limited testing, we haven’t launched anything yet so we’re not using the permission.”
The publication’s report also highlighted the fact that Flickr, Yahoo Messenger, and dating site Badoo are able to access the same kind of data. And the YouTube app even gives Google the authority to remotely access your smartphone camera. A recent poll found that 70% of smartphone users rarely or never read any of the terms and conditions when downloading a new app.