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Three people are suing Facebook for collecting call/text logs on Android

Shortly after the Facebook + Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, it was discovered that Facebook was also collecting call and text logs on people's Android phones and storing all of them. The social network did this legally using Android's permissions system, but even so, not everyone was pleased to learn about this.

Three users, in particular, were especially disgruntled, and as such, have decided to sue Facebook.

The lawsuit was filed at a federal court in California's Northern District, and at this time, Facebook has yet to comment on it.

I understand being upset about what Facebook did here, but I personally don't think these three users have any real chance at winning the suit. Is what Facebook did upsetting? Sure. However, just about all of us gave the company access to that data. Like Andrew said is his article explaining the issue —

But that's what this all comes back to in the end: you gave Facebook access to that information. Android's shaky and overly broad permissions settings gave Facebook a massive helping hand to accomplish this, but you installed the app and you pushed the button to allow the permissions as part of the installation.

Good luck, folks.

Facebook kept logs of calls and messages on Android phones, and followed the rules to do it

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

61 Comments
  • Call 1800 Morgan & Morgan! Yikes!
  • This was a good wake up call for companies like Facebook and Google that collect too much information on users activities and selling them off to third party companies and or not protecting it enough.
  • When did Google start selling personal identifiable data?
  • Exactly, they have never sold data. Misinformed people
  • I meant more of them collecting info
  • Gotcha
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, just go into settings for apps and deny permissions. Not a companies problem if user is not tech savvy. I have all permissions denied expect camera and storage. I guess people need their hands held.
  • And you wonder why the iPhone is so popular
  • No It's not, flexilble, customisable and open Android is the best and dominant platform not your restrictive and limited overpriced iToy. Get your facts right.
  • It's not because of security or anything relevant. It was cool, that's all.
  • Deny permission doesn't mean anything. Because you can turn off tracking on your phone and Google still tracks you all day long. There is always a loophole companies can use
  • Disagree, completely different when it comes to apps
  • How did you say above? Misinformed people? Well, maybe you're part of this group. All those collected phone calls and SMS is old stuff. Before Android 6 (or was it 5 🤔, don't remember, was always rooted) you couldn't grant or deny permissions (unless rooted). So, either you took the whole package or nothing. Calling people stupid and misinformed is a bit over the top!
  • Well yeah, before 5.0. Do not disagree with you whatsoever. Personally I wasn't on Facebook before then. Others who were didn't have a choice, I agree.
  • Yes. I agree with. You Google and your isp/mobile carrier still track the crisp out of you no matter about permissions if you have android. Google doesn't need you to be logged in if you use chrome browser on a PC as your browser sends a unique ID because of fonts and browser settings.
  • I don't know, I have agreed to ELUA's before, and have seen courts rule in favor of the complainants despite agreeing to them., as everyone knows you never read them (or something like that).
  • Time to start reading the fine print.
  • That's what I was thinking too. There is plenty of theme parks, stores, etc that have "not held responsible" language in their rides and locations that are still held liable in court decisions.
  • McDonald's was sued for hot coffee.. Yes, after an investigation it was found to be too hot. But still, hot coffee.. Who would ever think that would win?
  • It's America. Suing everyone and everything is as real as American as it gets.
  • It's well known that it wasn't just hot. It was SCALDING hot. As in wayyyyy hotter than it should have been. The lady got 3rd degree burns. Just sayin...
  • No, you're absolutely right. It was indeed too hot. It's just one of those things. Hot coffee, who would ever think it would win? With this Facebook lawsuit, there's a good chance the plaintiffs will win
  • you opted in... no case
  • Hot coffee
  • Yeah, repeat that as much as you want. Still means nothing, since you clearly don't know the facts about that case. Ahhh, ignorance...
  • It was a ridiculous lawsuit. How about not putting hot liquids between your legs.
  • Sounds like you don't know the real story. Do some research if you're interested. It's more than that.
  • She was 79 , she put the coffee between her knees , opened it for creamer. What more is there? She won because she was old, end of story. Why in hell are you defending the lawsuit?
  • You are correct except you left out one important fact. Her adult daughter had to take a few days off work to care for her mother. The mother daughter asked McDonalds to cover her medical bills and daughters time off work -- that's all they asked for. McDonalds told them to go fish. So they sued and won.
  • I'm not so much defending the lawsuit as I am opposing your stupid, oversimplified viewpoint of it... Since you want to oversimplify to fit your dumb argument, I'll post the facts here... And don't let the fact that this article is from Treehugger fool you. I'm no tree hugger. This is just the first of MANY articles I found during my 5 second Google search. https://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/truth-behind-mcdonal...
  • I do know the facts. It just sounds ridiculous
  • The lawyer that took this case should have done his/her research.
  • Why, if he is getting paid anyway. This case has the added perk of some free publicity.
  • For losing? How's that good?
  • There probably hoping for a Pay to go away deal
  • Where? Ohhhh... you meant they're* ;)
  • Correct me it this is wrong... I read somewhere that at one point access to the call log came inherently with access to contacts... And it was wasn't always obvious that when someone gave an application permission to access contacts that they were also giving access to call log. If this is true, this sounds like a big mistake on Google's part but Facebook obviously took advantage of it, which is definitely not OK either.
  • I hope every tech company gets sued . The DOJ is looking into the FBI surveillance so why should Amazon, Facebook and Google be held to the same standard
  • You really want to screw with my 401k don't you. lol
  • Lol
  • This is the first if many lawsuits against Facebook. Let the carnage begin.
  • Are we sure anything was actually illegal?
  • As much as everyone (including me) would love two see Facebook fail. They are deeply entrenched into everything large cap mutual fund and certain etfs. With just under 500b market cap, their downfall would be pretty rough in the markets..
  • Yep
  • Yep. I love my 401K more than I hate FB.
  • Free publicity for the lawyers... Expect they will be eager to appear on cable news to talk. 100% guarantee a court loss. You may not like what Facebook did, but it was legal.
  • If they were using the Facebook Messenger app then I'm not sure they have a case, the app actively asks if you want to use it for text messages and phone calls.
  • Sometimes a thing can be legal, even if it is unethical.There is no technical reason for a social media app to keep call and text logs like they did, so the typical user would not expect them to do so.
  • If a "typical user" is the standard then boy would the justice system be in for a whirlwind of lawsuits. The "typical user" is an idiot.
  • Andrew, do you know all of the laws that may apply in this case? I don't know how you can predict anything with certainty here.
    There was no "fine print" that people mistakenly signed - "I agree that Facebook may collect all of my text messages and phone calls and save them in their storage..."
    Those who are tech savvy may have seen it that way, but by no means this kind kind of the abuse was explicitly and transparently stated by Facebook. Who knows. Major states gonna start suing them as well.
    This may very well be the beginning of the end for FB. I hope they get forced to make a huge overhaul and if not, get crushed and shut down permanently. Latter seems unlikely, but one can still hope.
  • Imagine if everyone was strong enough to cancel their Facebook/Twitter/Google/etc acct's. Just use their phones for calls and texts to communicate for a couple days/week....that would send such a major message that not only would make ALL of these companies take notice and scramble to change their practices, but would allow new/smaller companies to pop up immediately to get you to 'come to them' with guarantees that they would not do all the data collecting on you just so you would sign-up with them. It would change everything right away. Would be so simple-could you do it?
  • I mean all you have to do is see what they see..
    But sre you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you :
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/28/all-the-data-faceb...
  • This is y a lot of people prefer Apple. They don't collect nor allow apps to collect data & they protect their users data, even against authority.
  • Well as you can clearly see, most of us on here prefer Android, because we like to have flexibility, freedom to control and customize the look of our devices the way we want and not the way Apple dictates which Android is far smarter than the limited, locked down and restrictive iPhone and is superior in every way to that overpriced iPhone why do you think Android has 85% of the global market? Because it's cheaper, better and you get more for your money plus I don't have an problem with Google having my information, I have nothing to hide.
  • Aside from the annual breach of Apple's poor security in iCloud Apple is ok, but read the fine print carefully it is not always what it seems. On desktop Facebook is Facebook.
  • Yes, that sounds about right. Apple Btw is more than happy to sign multi billion contracts with Google and Microsoft to allow their data collection portals to be the default settings on Safari and Siri. They definitely have their users data protection as their first priority. ;-)
  • You know, while I'm sure that claim is true, I'd actually like more transparency from Apple on that front. I mean, trust but verify. Google does gather a lot of data on users, they clearly tell you they do and clearly show you exactly what data they collect, so you can make your own decision. With Apple, they still collect data and IMO if it's truly as less as they say, every Apple user account should be able to verify what exactly they DO collec t for themselves.
  • I think the article author should insert disclaimer stating that he's not a lawyer and this article is purely his opinion. The way he proclaims what Facebook and Google did as absolutely legal is highly subjective. There could be some aspects of this case when presented to a judge or jury that these companies could be going to be negligent.
  • Exactly.
    I'll take "Perfectly legal" only when it comes from number of different judges and lawyers. Some like to play Legal Experts game, here.
  • I didn't knowingly give anyone permission to access my contacts or n e thing for that matter. As a matter of fact FB at one time did ask me if I wanted to put my contacts in my FB acc't I specifically replied a big NO NOT EVER without first asking my contacts if this was ok with them. I wouldn't ask period. My contacts are my family and friends along with business associates that are friends. I don't give anyone anyone else's information I don't care what is being asked. If I am told by my contact who and who not to give to I am still reluctant. This is for safety reasons and our safety is first and for most. If your friend gave your info out and God forbid he or she became a target of a serial stalker how would this effect you? It is wrong to obtain an individuals contact info from anyone but that person.
  • But what,if like me,you didnt give fb permission to access contacts,call/text logs but then you find later on that fb h been accessing that data anyway,they have a very good chance of winning.
    How /long does it take fb to close/delete an account these days ?
    I got back into an old account of mine 3 years after it was meant to have beem clised down/deleted at my own request ?