There's nothing worse than finding out you have been exposed to the public eye, especially when you were told that all your information is confidential and kept private. Here in the Android Community we all see several apps like this, but most of them are low rated apps that not really anyone cares about. How about big name apps? I can say from personal experience when I find out there has been a possible breach of privacy other than what was specified, either my password is changed, or I delete my account.
What is the app you ask? It's called WhatsApp, and it's said to be "one of the most popular apps in the world." It's a messenger app that can be used on Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Windows, and Nokia devices. The app allows you to receive and send messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages. It costs $0.99, but is free for the first year of use.
Sounds legit right? Unfortunately, it "contravenes international privacy laws because it forces users to provide access to their entire address book." Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! That's a huge amount of phone numbers I have, that they now have?! I can tell you now many of my phone contacts don't want their number shared with anyone unless asked. With all the privacy issues going on in the last few years this isn't the time to have such an accusation bought against your product.
A report was released and comments were given out by both the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), and the Dutch Data Protection Authority on Monday. They both felt that there's no reason users should have to provide access to their entire list of contacts and goes against the privacy laws.
Jacob Kohnstamm, Dutch Data Protection Authority Chairman said:
"This lack of choice contravenes (Canadian and Dutch) privacy law. Both users and non-users should have control over their personal data and users must be able to freely decide what contact details they wish to share with WhatsApp."
I agree 100% with Jacob, no app or company has a right to access our data unless we – the user – allow it, and agree that they can have access.
WhatsApp was contacted for comment, but has not released a statement yet on the matter.
The company behind WhatsApp will be making changes and adjusting the app to "allow the manual addition of contacts." Back in September of 2012 the company introduced an encryption service for it's application due to this investigation. WhatsApp will continue to be monitored by the authorities to make sure that privacy of it's users are maintained.
Does anyone use WhatsApp currently? Does this report urge you to now un-support it, or are you still loving the app no matter what information they have access to? We would love to hear from you on this issue!