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    BBC: Facebook U-turns on phone and address data sharing

    BBC News reports on an about-face by social-networking site Facebook on a privacy issue:

    Facebook appears to have U-turned on plans to allow external websites to see users’ addresses and mobile phone numbers. Security experts pointed out that such a system would be ripe for exploitation from rogue app developers.

    The feature has been put on “temporary hold”, the social networking firm said in its developers blog. It said it needed to find a more robust way to make sure users know what information they are handing over. […]

    The updates would be launched “in the next few weeks”, it added and the feature will be suspended in the meanwhile. […]

    Having access to mobile phone numbers and physical addresses could have real benefits for users, the firm said in its blog. “You could, for example, easily share your address and mobile phone with a shopping site to streamline the checkout process, or sign up for the up-to-the-minute alerts on special deals directly to your mobile phone.”

    But Graham Cluley, a senior analyst at security firm Sophos, said it would also be very easy for rogue developers to jump on the bandwagon.

    “You can imagine, for instance, that bad guys could set up a rogue app that collects mobile phone numbers and then uses that information for the purposes of SMS spamming or sells on the data to cold-calling companies,” he said.

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