Former head of ISOC says Facebook breach was “intentional negligence”

Politically active Muslims have described Facebook’s data breach which leaked personal details of millions of its users as “intentional negligence”.

Lecturer on Islamic and political affairs, Sharif Abu Laith was one of the six million Facebook users who had their personal details leaked to unknown people. Out of a billion Facebook users, six million had their phone numbers and email addresses leaked “accidentally” as a result of a data breach that has been ongoing for around a year.

Mr Abu Laith said:”It would be interesting to know who exactly downloaded the personal information of users and why.”

Zaman Chowdury who was the President of ISOC at Middlesex University from 2008 to 2010 said: “The big ‘accidental leak’ on Facebook that saw many politically active Muslims have their personal details exposed under the guise of ‘technical glitches’ is enough to pass on details to the ‘relevant persons’ (security services).

“It can even be something that is used to justify their ‘intentional negligence’ in a court of law should a mass number of victims take this matter seriously.

“This sudden glitch of leaking up to 6 million Facebook users private contact details including numbers and email addresses comes after Theresa May’s statements regarding ‘cracking down on extremists on social media platforms post Woolwich.”

The social networking giant blamed the major data leak on a “technical glitch” in its huge central archive which holds the information of 1.1 billion users. This led to Facebook users having access to additional information of their friends and contacts that they were not supposed to have.

Facebook claimed that it was alerted of the bug last week and had it fixed within 24 hours but did not publically recognize the fault until yesterday afternoon when it published an official “important message” on its blog.

Facebook’s blog stated: “We currently have no evidence that this bug has been exploited maliciously and we have not received complaints from users or seen anomalous behaviour on the tool or site to suggest wrongdoing” and “while the privacy breach was limited, it’s still something we’re upset and embarrassed by, and we’ll work doubly hard to make sure nothing like this happens again”.

Recent scandals

Facebook’s recent privacy breach comes in a time of disclosures that many consumer internet companies that turned over valuable information of users to a large-scale electronic surveillance program run by the CIA.  The companies included Facebook, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Yahoo.

Facebook led all the other giants in successfully negotiating with the US government last week to share a rough estimate of user information requests that each company had received including secret national security orders.

Mr Chowdury said in regards to the Facebook data breach, the recent GCHQ scandal and the British government’s new Extremism Task Force: “Do not be surprised if the larger percentage of these 6 million Facebook victims are Muslims that account both the domestic and the brutal foreign policies of the British government.

“Do not be alarmed if you come to hear about some individuals in this list are from those who fit more appropriately to the government’s criteria of ‘extreme’ islamists.

“These branded individuals will be the bogey men who will be used to continue and maintain the climate of fear and hysteria in society and in particular to social media users. They require a continuation of fear to buy time for anti-Islamic legislation and draconian measures.”

Mr Abu Laith said: “I would advise all Muslims who had their personal information leaked to write a letter of complaint to Facebook and demand to know who had access to their personal details.”

5 Pillarz is aware of 25 Muslim activists who had their information leaked. If your personal details were also leaked please email us on: [email protected]


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