During the last decade, as Facebook was expanding it entered into data-sharing agreements with more than 60 leading phone manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft. The full scope of these partnerships is only emerging now and it seems that Facebook allowed companies deep access to users’ private data and even the data of user’s friends.
On June 6, Facebook confirmed that it has a data-sharing agreement with Chinese companies, including Huawei which was previously flagged as a security threat by the US intelligence, as reported by BBC.
In fact, most of the deals made in the last decade remain in effect even now. Although, Facebook is reportedly winding them down.
These deals helped Facebook to reach an enormous number of users, while the device makers offered popular features of the social network to the users.
There are reports that Facebook did not abide by their declaration that they would no longer share private information without the consent of the users.
There are cases where the device makers retrieved the information even after the users denied to give the consent for the same, as reported by New York Times.
Investigation by @nytimes finds that Facebook gave dozens of phone makers vast access to private data without the consent of its users https://t.co/hhshepDu2v
In March 2018, a political firm named Cambridge Analytica misused the information and brought Facebook under scrutiny by regulators and lawmakers.
In explanation, Facebook said that the kind of access that was given to Cambridge Analytica in 2014 was cut off the next year. However, Facebook did not disclose then that the phone and other hardware manufacturers are still outside the restrictions.
“It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said Ashkan Soltani, a research, and privacy consultant told the New York Times.
In an appearance before the Congress in March this year, Mark Zuckerburg claimed, “Every piece of content that you share on Facebook you own. You have complete control over who sees it and how you share it.”
“This was flagged internally as a privacy issue,” stated Sandy Parakilas, who left Facebook in 2012 and has emerged as a harsh critic of the company.
“It is shocking that this practice may continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook’s testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled,” he added.
However, according to Washington Post, Archibong, an official at Facebook said, “These contracts and partnerships are entirely consistent with Facebook’s FTC consent decree.”
Disagreeing to which Jessica Rich, a former FTC official who helped lead the commission’s earlier Facebook investigation said, “Under Facebook’s interpretation, the exception swallows the rule. They could argue that any sharing of data with third parties is part of the Facebook experience. Moreover, this is not at all how the public interpreted their 2014 announcement that they would limit third-party app access to friend data.”
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.