Facebook's Internet.org accused of creating insecure Web

Source: Hill, The
Author: Cory Bennett
Coverage Type: reporting
Facebook (new HQ), 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA, United States

Digital rights groups are piling on to criticism that Facebook’s worldwide Internet access project, Internet.org, doesn’t promote privacy or security. On May 18, 60 groups from 28 countries wrote an open letter on Facebook expressing their concerns about the project from Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg that is trying to bring basic Web services to the roughly 4 billion unconnected people worldwide. Internet.org, the groups maintained, is “threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.”

Similar criticism started gaining traction in early May, after the social networking giant opened up the Internet.org platform to developers. The move allowed software engineers to develop third-party Internet services and apps using the website’s platform. But the platform doesn't support apps that are encrypted or traffic protected with secure hypertext transfer protocol, a common method of securing website activity. Facebook developers say the company is working to add these features soon. While Internet.org has been lauded for its aspirations, digital rights advocates have criticized it for giving Facebook developers too much control over which services are available to the unconnected community.


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