Senator Whitehouse and three of his Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee want Facebook to scrap a new system that would allow outside app developers to get users’ addresses, phone numbers, relatives’ names and other personal information, Politico reports:
The members are calling on Facebook to “reconsider this policy,” or at least “block this feature for Facebook users between 13 and 17 years of age.”
Franken and his colleagues are also asking Facebook to disclose to users clearly how this information can be abused. They would like to require — if “operationally possible” — that all apps still be available to users who decline to grant apps access to their contact information. …
A spokesman for Facebook said Wednesday that the company “appreciate[s] all of the feedback we’re getting on this issue, and that feedback will inform the decisions we make as we continue to develop the feature.” …
By the [senators’] reasoning, malicious actors can easily take those shared addresses and phone numbers and use them to obtain other records about a Facebook user.
“Anyone with 10 minutes, $25 and a Facebook user’s phone number and address and no other information can obtain a breathtaking amount of information about that Facebook user — and that Facebook user’s family, friends, neighbors and landlord,” they wrote. “Combined with a targeted Google search, these two pieces of information can allow someone to obtain almost all of the information necessary to complete a loan or credit card application. It is hard to contemplate all the different ways in which this information could be abused.”
Of course, why anyone would think it’s a good idea to put their addresses, phone numbers and other personal information on Facebook in the first place is a mystery to me.