As if the current methods of evaporating privacy and pushing a world toward the Cashless Society were not moving fast enough, Facebook is now developing and beta testing an app that would allow users to “pay their utility bills, balance their checkbooks, and transfer money at the same time they upload vacation photos to the site for friends to see.”
Essentially, the new application which is currently in beta phase with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, allows for interactions regarding banking and financial services over alleged secure and private connections.
A similar, albeit attenuated program, is already in existence in India which was created by ICICI Bank in conjunction with Facebook that allows users, “through a secure SSL connection,” to “view account details and mini statements as well as apply for debit cards and request chequebooks.”
See the ICICI Bank Facebook App Demo Video here.
Indeed, KeyPoint Credit Union also has its own Facebook app that allows for many of the same features including the user’s ability to access all of their KeyPoint accounts via the app.
Facebook is obviously known for many things – but none of them are its respect for privacy. In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been very open about his disdain for even the concept of privacy, stating openly that he simply doesn’t believe in it.
Still, both Facebook and the participants in this emerging app are assuring future customers that there is no need for concern regarding leakage of personal data. Commonwealth Bank, for instance, holds that it will not launch the program without a 100% guarantee of security.
With this in mind and, given the track record as well as the open declarations of disregard for privacy by Facebook and its directors, would anyone in their right minds trust their online banking and financial information to the social networking giant?
Unfortunately, the answer is likely to be a resounding “Yes.”
Regardless of the stampede toward yet another privacy-destroying program, Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks accurately summed up some of the concerns regarding online banking privacy and the new Facebook app during a recent TYT broadcast. She said;
And I’ll tell you what my conspiracy theory is. Facebook makes money by selling ads. And the way that they sell ads is by telling the advertisers what their users are spending their money on. If they have the ability to see what you’re spending your money on via BillPay, on their website, then they’re going to sell that information to a third party. And then they’re going to be like ‘What? What privacy? What are you talking about?’
Kasparian should give herself more credit. Her deductions are merely logic based on previous experiences and the historical behavior of Facebook – not conspiracy theories.
In keeping with the concerns regarding privacy, however, it is clear that these ridiculous apps will no doubt be able to be accessed via smartphones in addition to personal computers and will therefore be subject to even more hacking possibilities.
Indeed, the increasing number of “apps” and remote-smartphone related programs dealing with personal financial, banking, and payment information will undoubtedly produce an increase in the number of hacking and identity theft incidents. Thus, the public that was so easily enticed to use these programs under the guise of convenience will be calling for an increased level of security to reduce the ability of hackers to access the data they freely offered online once their poorly thought-out decisions come back to bite them.
Unfortunately, however, such concerns as those expressed by Kasparian are almost guaranteed to go unheeded. If they are even addressed by Facebook or the respective participating banking institutions, it will only be discussed as a public relations move designed to placate those on the fence and the holdouts who will themselves be caught up in the dragnet in a matter of just a few years.
In the end, the new Facebook banking app is just one more step toward the ultimate goal of the Cashless Society and the requirement that even the most personal individual information such as iris scans, fingerprints, vein scans, facial photographs, and even DNA swabs be surrendered for the purpose of data security.
As I have stated on many occasions, these types of programs are always introduced under the guise of convenience. Then, as more and more people take the bait, the older methods of payment are seen as cumbersome and, eventually, are phased out completely. Mandates then replace what was once a personal choice.
Yet, what is so ironic about the Facebook banking app is that, while the program is touted as providing so much more convenience, even when putting privacy and Cashless Society issues aside and, with the program running at its optimum, the app really isn’t that much more convenient.
As one commenter on the TYT video quoted above wrote, “You can already do online banking at the same time as Facebook. It’s called opening a second tab you morons.”