WhatsApp Messenger In Troubled Waters, Violates Privacy Laws

By Anu Passary email: a.passary@mobilenapps.com | Jan 29, 2013 02:09 PM EST

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email

WhatsApp Messenger, the immensely popular cross-platform instant messenger service for smartphones, which enables users to stay connected, send media files, and group chat has encountered some heavy weather.  The messenger app has landed in hot water for breaching international privacy laws due to the manner in which it handles Address Book data, per Canadian and Dutch data authorities.

Follow us

"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," reported Reuters.

WhatsApp is estimated to have more than 300 million users globally, and ranks as one of the top five best-selling apps in the world.  The instant messenger app has been produced by Canada-based WhatsApp Inc. and provides users with a free Internet alternative to text messaging.

The news comes in wake of increased criticism of social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, over the sharing and storage of personal information.

Per a Reuters report, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Dutch Data Protection Authority, released a joint report on Jan. 28, which disclosed that the app flouted privacy laws since "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.

The investigation revealed that WhatsApp kept the mobile numbers of non-users, violating privacy laws. The investigators disclosed that WhatsApp committed to bringing changes to protect a user's privacy. In Sept. 2012, the Canadian company introduced encryption for the messaging service to tackle the concerns raised by investigators. The service will apparently allow the manual update of contacts to counter the privacy breach issue.

WhatsApp Inc. is yet to comment on the issue. The Dutch agency averred that it would continue to monitor WhatsApp and may even impose penalties if the service continued to breach privacy laws.

Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

© 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join Our Conversation

Smartphones
LG Google Nexus 5 LG Google Nexus 5 back on sale from Google Play
Here’s the new ‘Microsoft Lumia’ brand, and what will happen to existing Nokia Lumia devices
LG G Watch R starts global rollout, hitting Europe first
Google Nexus 6 UK launch reportedly delayed until December
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Gadgets
Amazon Logo Amazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC Logo HTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google Downtime Google blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
Flipboard for Windows Phone Flipboard for Windows Phone finally available, but requires 1GB of RAM (VIDEO)
Vine gets major update, lets you upload previously-shot videos & more (VIDEO)
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) finally hits Windows Phone – Available as a free download now
Instagram releases Bolt ephemeral messaging app in select markets to challenge Snapchat
Copyright © 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. mobilenapps
Real Time Analytics