Without a doubt, Instagram is one of the most used social networks today. It has millions of users and is the means of communication for many users. But of course, as often happens in this type of service, privacy is not always safe. In fact Instagram share more data from Wi-Fi networks than many users believe. You can even geolocate and share that location with third parties.
Instagram shares data from your connections
That an application shares data with third parties does not surprise us too much. In fact, the truth is that there are a large number of programs and services on the Internet that in one way or another profit from user information. And yes, this is especially present on social networks like Instagram.
Marcus Mengs, network and security analyst, has shown on his Twitter profile how Instagram shares BSSIDs of Wi-Fi networks with Facebook (now called Meta). This, as he claims, is a problem for users. After all, they are sharing certain data with a service that they may not use and would not want them to have access to.
1) Instagram sends WiFi BSSIDs to Facebook / Meta: problem of the users
2) They also collect nearby WiFis with RSSI: Problem for many
3) They also collect received BLE beacons: Problem for everyone (think of BLE Exposure Notifications)
4) Geo referenced? Of course, with GPS! pic.twitter.com/Ltc57ssaY6
– Marcus Mengs (@ mame82) November 26, 2021
But in addition, it also collects Nearby Wi-Fi networks via RSSI, the received signal strength indicator. If, for example, we are connected to our network at home, it would be registering neighbors’ networks, as long as they are in range. In this case, the privacy problem would be for third parties, since their networks may unknowingly end up in the hands of Instagram.
It also collects signals received by Bluetooth. This is another of the characteristics that Instagram is capable of managing and that many users are unaware of. Notifications received via Bluetooth, for example, may be exposed.
On the other hand, Instagram can record the users location. You would have permissions to access the location through GPS. This, together with all the above, can allow them to know at all times where a user is and to be able to share that information with third parties. Virtually all cell phones today have GPS.
Users agree to share data with Instagram
Although all this we have seen seems strange, the truth is that users are the ones who accept all these permissions. This has been shown by Marcus Mengs, who has posted on his Twitter profile screenshots of the terms that users themselves accept when using Instagram.
We accept things like sharing the name of the Wi-Fi network or the Internet operator. Also that Instagram has access to the Bluetooth signal, nearby networks or GPS. We can see all this in the terms that appear when we register on the platform or install the application.
But of course, it is a fact that in most cases users accept the terms without actually reading them. They simply trust Instagram, or whatever service it is, and do not stop to think about the consequences that may have regarding privacy on the Internet. You can always keep in mind tips to protect Instagram.