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New York requests documents from Facebook, apps on sharing of data

connectVideoFacebook defends controversial ‘research’ app

Social network giant paid users in the age group of 13 to 35 to install the app and allow Facebook to follow all of their smartphone activity, including what apps were used, sites visited, what messages said and who they were sent.

A New York regulator, the provision of a promised investigation into how Facebook Inc. collected sensitive personal information from popular smartphone applications after a report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that many of these apps are sending the social media giant’s data, including users of the body weight and the menstrual cycles.

The state Department of Financial Services on Wednesday sent a series of letters seeking information and documents from Facebook, and the developers behind the 11 apps mentioned in the Magazine of the reporting, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

A letter addressed to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, to request information about all the companies that Facebook data about the mobile application users through software provided by the social-media giant in the last three years, the person said. Furthermore, ask the company to include the categories of information that were shared and a list of all the New Yorkers whose data are recorded, the person added.

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Other letters, sent to app developers, search copies of any contracts with Facebook, and the descriptions of fees and commissions paid to or received from Facebook in connection with the use of the software, the person said. All of the letters request the recipients to the production of the documents by March 15.

The evidence is the first concrete step in a research that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered last Friday, a few hours after the Journal, which found that at least 11 apps were send intensely personal information on Facebook, as soon as this is entered by users or recorded by the app—regardless of whether the user has logged in via Facebook or was a member of the social network.

Mr. Cuomo described the sharing of data as “an outrageous abuse of privacy”, and called on federal regulators to join and “help us put an end to this practice.”

Click here to read more from The Wall Street Journal, where this story first appeared.

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