Internet.org’s Security & Privacy Concerns

Today, an article posted on Wired dived into an open letter from the growing list of 65 advocacy organizations in 31 countries protesting Internet.org.

The concept of Internet.org works like this: Facebook (partnered with wireless carriers and other organizations) releases an app that provides developing countries free internet access to a limited number of sites and services on mobile phones, including Facebook. The project is currently operating in 11 countries.

The security and privacy concerns surrounding the project revolve around the skepticism that these giant companies are using Internet.org for private gain (i.e. Facebook and the wireless carriers can capture more “free” user data and promote their own services), and that the “two-tiered” app will undermine security (it doesn’t use the internet’s standard SSL security protocol) and privacy (all traffic will go through a proxy controlled by Facebook).

As stated in the open letter, “In its present conception, Internet.org thereby violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.”

Access Now is calling on Facebook to offer truly free, complete internet with very low data caps. Contrary to the current model however, this suggestion probably won’t benefit Facebook directly. The question then becomes would Facebook still be willing to fund such an operation? Our feeling is that individual rights to privacy and security is last on the priority list.

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