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Facebook slurped phone numbers says Norton

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Norton has pinged Facebook for slurping Android users' phone numbers without their consent.

The findings, posted here, were announced along with a new version of the company's Android security app.

Norton, which once famously blocked Facebook as a phishing site, says the updated Mobile Insight flagged Facebook for Android as leaking the device phone numbers, affecting a “significant portion” of the hundreds of millions of people who have downloaded the app from Google Play.

“Mobile Insight automatically flagged the Facebook application for Android because it leaked the device phone number. The first time you launch the Facebook application, even before logging in, your phone number will be sent over the Internet to Facebook servers. You do not need to provide your phone number, log in, initiate a specific action, or even need a Facebook account for this to happen,” the post states.

Facebook has advised that it will update the app and, and that it has “stated they did not use or process the phone numbers and have deleted them from their servers,” Norton says.

The security outfit says it will be providing information about other leaky applications “in the coming weeks”.

It's the second embarrassing privacy slip for Facebook in a fortnight, following the discovery that the company's Download Your Information was spraying user data to all and sundry. ®

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