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Do not under any circumstances use Facebook’s VPN Onavo; it’s a funnel for harvesting your data

by Milicent Atieno
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There is a new feature Facebook baked into its mobile app; under Settings > Protect. When you tap on Protect, the Facebook app leads you to the app store to download a new VPN Onavo Protect.ovano protect

You might think the VPN is the answer to your prayers. I mean here is a VPN backed by a reputable company like Facebook, surely it ought to look out for your privacy compared to the other oceans of VPNs in the apps stores. It is common knowledge that while some VPN do encrypt your data barring ISP and hackers from knowing your online activities. It is also well documented that some VPN do spy on their users; stealing their data and sell them to marketers.

Speaking of marketers, is Facebook not the biggest marketing platform on Earth? Yes, Facebook’s app has been accused of spying on users. There have been allegations leveled online that the app arbitrary activates the microphone on your phone, even when you are not actively using the feature on Facebook that requires the mic access, to eavesdrop in on users.

Now, these are just allegations, right? Nonetheless, take a minute and think about how a VPN works. This piece of software routers all internet traffic in and out of your phone; that means all data in and out all applications and features on your phone.

Now, again, indulge me for a second! Say, you are this big aggressive marketing machine (allegedly Facebook) harvesting data from users was previously limited to the activities they do on your app (the Facebook app). However, if you could somehow get your hands to all activities the user is doing on their phone, (including and beyond the Facebook app), won’t that be more data to take your marketing game to a whole new level?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these are the allegation being leveled against Facebook-back VPN Onavo Protect, which is, in fact, being actively promoted from within the Facebook app. Security experts are advising users to shun the VPN.

Onavo Protect is (allegedly) a big funnel by Facebook to harvest more of your data outside the Facebook app. Onavo Protect has been available on iOS App Store and Android Google Play Store for a while now, but the button within the Facebook app is relatively new.

When you tap the icon Protect on the Facebook app, you will be taken to your respective store to install Ovano Protect. Once you do that all data to and from your device will be encrypted and channeled through Facebook servers. For such a big marketer, how confident are you they will not decrypt your data to serve you better-targetted ads? At the same time, Facebook will be denying the competition access to your data. In a nutshell, VPN will be the next battleground between marketers; they give you free VPN access so they can lock out the competition from accessing your data, while they themselves get unrestricted access to your data.

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