Emerging markets have right to mobile security, says Facebook chief

Facebook’s incoming security chief has asserted that internet users in emerging markets should have the same right to security as those in developed markets.

Alex Stamos also claimed that Facebook would take responsibility for securing its internet.org initiative in emerging markets, noting that larger security firms were too financially motivated to provide protection to less profitable markets. Stamos stated that making internet.org secure was one of his main motivations.

“We can’t say you are only safe if you are on the latest phone in a country with a great human rights record,” said Stamos, referencing both the high number of feature phones still prevalent in emerging markets along with the more controversial topic of governmental intervention in data privacy.

Telecommunications companies face increasing pressure from national governments to provide ‘back-door’ access to user data that is typically considered private, but face public - and often political - outcry if they comply with these demands.

The USA’s National Security Agency is a particularly high-profile example of government surveillance of telecommunications data. Stamos, who joined Facebook just six weeks ago after leaving Yahoo, has made his objection to the NSA clear.

He has stated his opinion that Facebook has an “obligation” to deliver a secure environment for its users in emerging markets, noting that many customers in these regions unknowingly use unofficial versions of software – including Google’s Android OS – which can put them at risk.

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