Virtual private networks are intended to help safeguard your internet use when on public or otherwise unknown or outside connections. Of course, if you’re Facebook and you own a VPN, your idea of “protecting” your users is to collect all the data you possibly can from them. Sarah Perez:
But Facebook didn’t buy Onavo for its security protections.
Instead, Onavo’s VPN allow Facebook to monitor user activity across apps, giving Facebook a big advantage in terms of spotting new trends across the larger mobile ecosystem. For example, Facebook gets an early heads up about apps that are becoming breakout hits; it can tell which are seeing slowing user growth; it sees which apps’ new features appear to be resonating with their users, and much more.
I’m no legal scholar, but not only is Facebook not acting in users’ best interests, this also seems like it should raise some anti-trust red flags. Facebook is taking advantage of a lack of adequate regulation in order to monopolize the market.
As John Gruber astutely points out, this is spyware.
And it’s not lost on me that TechCrunch’s comment system? It’s Facebook, too.