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  1. cezley's Avatar
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    Default WhatsApp Violates privacy laws over phones numbers -reuters

    hey guys, I did a quick search in forums but if this is posted allready mods feel free to delete this thread.

    WhatsApp violates privacy laws over phone numbers: report
    1 hour ago - Reuters
    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - WhatsApp, one of the most popular apps in the world, contravenes international privacy laws because it forces users to provide access to their entire address book, Canadian and Dutch data protection authorities said.
    WhatsApp, which ranks as one of the world's top five best-selling apps, is an instant-messaging application for smartphones including Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry.
    The report comes at a time of increased criticism of internet companies, such as Facebook, over the storing and sharing of personal information.
    Produced by California-based WhatsApp Inc, it provides a free internet alternative to SMS, or text messaging, sending more than a billion messages every day.
    The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Dutch Data Protection Authority, in a joint report released on Monday, said the app violated privacy laws because users have to provide access to all phone numbers in their address book, including both users and non-users of the app.
    "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," said Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch Data Protection Authority.
    WhatsApp was not immediately available to comment.
    The investigators found that WhatsApp retained the mobile numbers of non-users, contravening privacy laws.
    WhatsApp committed to making changes to protect users' privacy, including allowing the manual addition of contacts, according to the investigators. In September 2012, it introduced encryption for its mobile messaging service, partly in response to concerns raised by the investigation.
    The Dutch agency said it would continue to monitor WhatsApp and could impose penalties if privacy continued.
    (Reporting by Sara Webb, Editing by Louise Heavens)

    for those of you that do not want to click, here is the 'report'
    this seems big, not new news but big i think. I can't remember where I read it but I saw a link to a page where a guy was talking about how easy it is to get phone numbers from people using their whatsapp app and how they don't really encrypt their data or something or other (I'm sorry but I don't really know the proper terms or even understand them, lol)

    *edit* thanks to the mod that moved it, next time I make a thread I'll think before I post, lol
    Last edited by cezley; 01-28-2013 at 01:36 PM.
  2. raino's Avatar
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    Interesting. I haven't done a new WhatsApp activation in a while, but don't they make it clear that they need access to your address book? If they do and the user doesn't like it, they can delete the app, simple as that.

    If they don't make it clear...they're in doo doo.
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  3. emstardeluxe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raino View Post
    Interesting. I haven't done a new WhatsApp activation in a while, but don't they make it clear that they need access to your address book? If they do and the user doesn't like it, they can delete the app, simple as that.

    If they don't make it clear...they're in doo doo.
    I think it's that the people that are in your address book have no choice - if they are not WhatsApp users, WhatsApp isn't supposed to be collecting their info (in Canada at least, and I guess the Netherlands too)
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  4. cezley's Avatar
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    Not sure, but you would think a company with such a popular app would do their best to be "secure" or at least know the law enough not to break it, lol
    if in fact they are.
  5. #5  

    Default Re: WhatsApp Violates privacy laws over phones numbers -reuters

    Then if your contacts don't want WhatsApp to collect their phone numbers, don't install it.

    By the way.....got Facebook? Twitter?

    Most people share their contracts information on FB without even taking notice. YouTube now tries to get users to reveal their real name. You are fully open on Twitter if you use your name.




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  6. cezley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qbnkelt View Post
    Then if your contacts don't want WhatsApp to collect their phone numbers, don't install it.

    By the way.....got Facebook? Twitter?

    Most people share their contracts information on FB without even taking notice. YouTube now tries to get users to reveal their real name. You are fully open on Twitter if you use your name.




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    No I think your contacts don't have a choice. If you're a contact with someone who has WhatsApp then they have your phone number whether or not you have WhatsApp installed.
    My question is what are they doing with peoples' phone numbers if they don't even have the app?
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  7. Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes's Avatar
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    Violates privacy!!! As per official findings
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  8. cezley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes View Post
    Violates privacy!!! As per official findings
    Aye, but now I'm curious, like the lovely qbnkelt mentioned that most people share their contracts information on FB without even taking notice, does this mean facebook is also violating international privacy? I'm not sure what the difference is?
  9. raino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emstardeluxe View Post
    I think it's that the people that are in your address book have no choice - if they are not WhatsApp users, WhatsApp isn't supposed to be collecting their info (in Canada at least, and I guess the Netherlands too)
    Their CEO in this forum post categorically said that they don't store users' address books, and that it was simply not feasible. So is the Canadian/Dutch probe dinging them for just collecting (and not storing...if that indeed is true) users' and non-users' phone numbers?
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  10. cezley's Avatar
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    good question raino, I dont think the article says whether they were storing or collecting the phone numbers.
    I was reading the thread you linked. It reminded me to backup my phone as it's been a few months, (thanks, lol)
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    i stopped using whatsapp for w/e reason, i dont even know, but then hookt came out and my friends jumped on that. I was like 'hmmmm let me read the ToS' and for the FIRST time i read every word of a ToS...

    there was things like 'any images or documents that you send using hookt can be reproduced without your knowledge' or something like that... basically like how fb was using random peoples pictures as ads without them knowing. NO THANKS!

    if i download an app and it asks for access to something that doesnt make sense then i dont install it. There is no need for the NHL app to have access to my address book (it doesnt ask for that, but its the only example i could think of)
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    Default Re: WhatsApp Violates privacy laws over phones numbers -reuters

    Quote Originally Posted by cezley View Post
    No I think your contacts don't have a choice. If you're a contact with someone who has WhatsApp then they have your phone number whether or not you have WhatsApp installed.
    My question is what are they doing with peoples' phone numbers if they don't even have the app?
    No, your contacts don't, but you do.
    Example....I have WhatsApp in my SGIII and my iPhone. I have several emails, some I share with people outside my immediate circle of family and friends and find I don't.
    So, forum friends who have WhatsApp as do similar friends from other forums are on my SGIII Gmail.
    And I would have to research that they keep your entire phone book. Doesn't seem right. Not saying you are wrong, just saying I would have to research



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  13. cezley's Avatar
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    "The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Dutch Data Protection Authority, in a joint report released on Monday, said the app violated privacy laws because users have to provide access to all phone numbers in their address book, including both users and non-users of the app"
    is what it says in the article, but you are right qbnkelt, it doesn't say if WhatsApp keeps the information, it just says that they need access to all of your contacts (I'm guessing you have to 'agree' to them getting your friends phone numbers before the app will work??)
    and yes, I should have researched it
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    As far as I know, Viber does this exact same thing. It tells me which of my contacts also have Viber installed in case I wish to message them. As raino pointed out, on the Whatsapp forum, they talk about scanning your contacts, but not storing them. Two very different things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cezley View Post
    "The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Dutch Data Protection Authority, in a joint report released on Monday, said the app violated privacy laws because users have to provide access to all phone numbers in their address book, including both users and non-users of the app"
    is what it says in the article, but you are right qbnkelt, it doesn't say if WhatsApp keeps the information, it just says that they need access to all of your contacts (I'm guessing you have to 'agree' to them getting your friends phone numbers before the app will work??)
    and yes, I should have researched it
    No, you don't agree to anything other than the original ToS. Once done, it will scan your initial address book and look for numbers that it already has on it's system as registered users. After that, as far as I know, if you want to add new contacts (from your address book) who are using Whatsapp, you need to manually add them to it, meaning it's not constantly scanning your address book for data.
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  16. Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes's Avatar
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    There's nothing left to say lol. I scan through the responses without even reading the newest ones. Seeing the names I would expect. This is the official findings, not someone's first hand report.
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    I am curious what the repercussions of this will be and how it will affect the growth of WhatsApp going forward esp. as its the number one IM across all platforms. This could be an opening for its competitors like Kik and Line, or maybe drive customers back to BBM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes View Post
    There's nothing left to say lol. I scan through the responses without even reading the newest ones. Seeing the names I would expect. This is the official findings, not someone's first hand report.
    Good thing you don't need to download it then. But oh the horror if one of your friends did! That means they gots you anyways and you're already on their Big Brother list!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoolahMitch View Post
    I am curious what the repercussions of this will be and how it will affect the growth of WhatsApp going forward esp. as its the number one IM across all platforms. This could be an opening for its competitors like Kik and Line, or maybe drive customers back to BBM
    They'll work with the agencies and make the necessary changes, as they've been doing all along according to the article.
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    Default Re: WhatsApp Violates privacy laws over phones numbers -reuters

    Quote Originally Posted by Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes View Post
    There's nothing left to say lol. I scan through the responses without even reading the newest ones. Seeing the names I would expect. This is the official findings, not someone's first hand report.
    Ah see....I use the Ignore button. Works wonders.



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    Quote Originally Posted by cezley View Post
    Aye, but now I'm curious, like the lovely qbnkelt mentioned that most people share their contracts information on FB without even taking notice, does this mean facebook is also violating international privacy? I'm not sure what the difference is?
    The difference is, is that everyone on your friends list signed up with FB and therefore, gave them whatever information they have decided to enter. They haven't got any information on any of my contacts in other area's that aren't on FB. With WhatsApp, even those who have not signed up, have inadvertantly had there info given to the app. Huge difference there.
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    There is a difference in privacy levels between systems that use your information and systems that keep your information.

    At work, we have criteria that we use to determine whether a system is on a par with privacy regulations.

    Example - a system that utilises information but does not store it does not require the same level of security as one that stores it. Additionally, if a system uses three pieces of personally identifiable information it requires a system of record designation and therefore has a higher security requirement. If a system utilises one piece of information, in this case let's use a phone number, and doesn't store it, it requires the lowest level of security. If it utilises two or more pieces of information, it requires a higher level. If it stores that information, it becomes a system of record and requires a full SORN (Systen of Record Notice.)

    If WhatsApp would require the use of a phone number to run a check on an address book and does not store that number, then if WhatsApp were to be used within our systems, it would not require a SORN because it does not store personal identifiable information.

    Another way of looking at this would be if you are going to make a purchase online. The system utilises your credit card number to conduct the transaction but it does not store it. It offers you the option.

    Now, before my fan group gets all frothy, I am not equating the phone book scan performed by WhatsApp with the security level on a credit card purchase online, I use them simply as an illustration of the difference between runnign a scan and storing the information.

    International regulations differ in these matters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FSeverino View Post
    i stopped using whatsapp for w/e reason, i dont even know, but then hookt came out and my friends jumped on that. I was like 'hmmmm let me read the ToS' and for the FIRST time i read every word of a ToS...

    there was things like 'any images or documents that you send using hookt can be reproduced without your knowledge' or something like that... basically like how fb was using random peoples pictures as ads without them knowing. NO THANKS!

    if i download an app and it asks for access to something that doesnt make sense then i dont install it. There is no need for the NHL app to have access to my address book (it doesnt ask for that, but its the only example i could think of)
    Like the NFL app requiring that I give it access to my location or else I can't use the app....*uninstalled*
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  24. #24  

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjcampbell View Post
    The difference is, is that everyone on your friends list signed up with FB and therefore, gave them whatever information they have decided to enter. They haven't got any information on any of my contacts in other area's that aren't on FB. With WhatsApp, even those who have not signed up, have inadvertantly had there info given to the app. Huge difference there.

    But your contact list and their phone numbers is displayed unless you opt out of it.
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  25. #25  

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    Quote Originally Posted by anastasiophan View Post
    Like the NFL app requiring that I give it access to my location or else I can't use the app....*uninstalled*

    Exactly. You share or use what is comfortable for you.
    Forum members whom I trust enough to contact outside the forum get my phone number. Others contact me here only. Some people share PINs here; I don't.

    I trust a select few here.

    'Cuz I wuv them.....
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