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Facebook Security Analyst Used Private Data to Stalk Women

By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 04, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Remember when Indiana Jones stared into the pit with all the snakes?

He had escaped booby-traps, poison darts, sword-carrying Egyptians, and machine-gun wielding Nazis, but snakes were his weakness. After staring into the bottom of the pit, he recoiled: "Why'd it have to be snakes?"

What has that got to do with Facebook, whose nemesis seems to be privacy issues? Only this: one of its analysts was apparently using company data to stalk women.

Privacy Problem

Facebook is already dealing with a data mining scandal, which put Mark Zuckerberg in the Congressional hot seat and caused company stock to fall about $38 billion. A class-action lawsuit on behalf of 87 million users will sort out how much the company pays for leaked data in the end.

It's not the first privacy issue to hit Facebook in the face. It's been a problem almost from the beginning.

Most of the time, it has been a computer thing. An app here, an ad there. But this time it was really personal.

Alerted that a security analyst had called himself a "professional stalker," Facebook said it investigated and promptly fired the employee.

"Professional Stalker"

According to reports, the employee claimed he was trying to identify hackers for the company. Apparently, he crossed the line by using Facebook data to find women on the Tinder dating app.

Ars Technica said the incident "underscores the recurring threat Facebook and other companies face from rogue insiders." Writing for the ezine, Dan Goodin says the best way to keep information private is not to put it social media.

It's good advice for users, but no comfort to Facebook. That would be even scarier than snakes.

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