05 May 2015

MediaNama: “Facebook’s Internet.org platform is a privacy nightmare”

First up, no matter what Facebook says about Internet.org being a means of promoting Internet usage, it isn’t. It’s a fundamental, permanent change in the way the Internet works by splitting it into free vs paid access. It isn’t the same as giving someone Rs 10 of data access or even 100 mb. It is a permanent shift.

Without https (secure content), this means that telecom operators will also be able to snoop on your users, and through them, so will the government. Is Privacy a small price to pay for free access to a directory of services? Should the fact that India doesn’t have a privacy law be a factor in allowing Facebook to launch Internet.org?

Nikhil Pahwa

Did anybody expect anything less from ? After all, airplanes and drones are not cheap, neither are server farms. Facebook needs to justify these investments before stockholders; what better way to do this than by growing its potential user base and the amount of collected personal data?

Today, we’re introducing the Internet.org Platform, an open program for developers to easily create services that integrate with Internet.org

It’s interesting to note here the different, even opposing, visions on the future of the Internet from Mozilla and Facebook: on one hand a network with high security and privacy, but where fewer people will be able to publish because of technical constraints; on the other one with basic ‘free’ services for the widest audience possible, but with non-existent privacy. Ironically, Mozilla’s ‘always secure’ Internet would be impossible to access from a Internet.org terminal – and vice versa! It’s a dangerous division that could break up the Internet in several isolated networks, much reducing its potential. It will be a challenge in the following years to ensure a good balance between improving Internet access for poor communities and their online security.

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