Facebook launched a free VPN program Onavo Protect for Android and iPhone to boost the user privacy and to keep the information secure. But as promised it does not anonymize, instead, it drains your privacy.
Even when the Onavo VPN is turned off it keeps on sending daily Wi-Fi data usage, Mobile data usage, and frames to indicate how long the VPN is connected.
It was criticized starting this month due to its promotional activities and it was first reported by Techcrunch, infosec researcher Will Strafach published a blog post tracking the types of data collected by Onavo Protect.
Onavo Protect contains a Packet Tunnel Provider app extension that performs the additional functions along with the VPN.
What are the Data’s Collected – Onavo Protect
Onavo Protect sends Mobile network name, Mobile network code, Mobile country code, Locale/language, iOS version, and Onavo app version.
Onavo tracks when the mobile device screen is on/off, likely only while connected to Onavo Protect.
Tracks daily data usage on Wi-Fi and mobile data using system APIs
DNS request to measure the latency.
Onavo performs timing measurements of Packet Tunnel Provider performance.
Facebook response to 9to5mac “When people download Onavo Protect to help secure their connection, we are clear about the information we collect and how it is used. Like other VPNs, Protect acts as a secure connection including when people are on public Wi-Fi.”
This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service. Because we’re part of Facebook, we also use this information to improve Facebook products and services.
We let people know about this activity and other ways that Onavo uses, analyses, and shares data before they download it. We also regularly review our apps and make updates based on feedback from people.