WhatsApp’s change of policy attracts more negative attention. The messaging application started sharing information with Facebook, their current owners after promising not to.
WhatApp gets a warning from the Article 29
The European privacy watchdog Article 29 Working Party has contacted WhatsApp concerning the recent changes in the policy of the popular messaging service. Back in August, WhatsApp started sharing telephone numbers with Facebook .
Article 29 demands of WhatsApp to disclose all relevant information about their data collection and to pause the monitoring until “the appropriate legal protections could be assured.” Reuters reported the news on October 28. They also add:
The watchdogs also wrote to Yahoo over a massive data breach that exposed the email credentials of 500 million users, as well as its scanning of customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials.
WhatsApp and Data Collection
WhatsApp’s reputation has fallen since the Facebook buyout. The app was once known for being more privacy-conscious than its competitors. This is no longer the case. Facebook gets a lot of data from the messaging service; they claim that the main purpose of this data collection is to provide information for their advertising agencies.
That’s a half-truth. Since the massive 500 million Yahoo hack big companies should be put into question more. There were always suspicions of government involvement inside social media, but the recent discoveries have answered this question and proved that the massive data collection by Facebook, Yahoo, and Google is indeed very dangerous.
These databases may be created for the fairly harmless purpose of Internet advertising. The problem is that these massive archives can be accessed by hacking and the information can fall into the hands of whoever’s capable enough to breach them. In this day and age, there are a lot of capable parties, and most of them aren’t friendly.
We’ll see if WhatsApp actually complies with the demands of Article 29. Facebook has refused to co-operate with privacy watchdogs before, so it seems unlikely that they’ll stop the WhatsApp data sharing.
Laws and regulation aren’t going to stop Facebook, Yahoo, or Google from collecting and selling private data. Users will. If people simply refused the Terms of Conditions instead of scrolling to the bottom and clicking “Accept” then we wouldn’t be in this situation. Right now, companies are pushing the limits of what they can get away with. As of now, it seems like they can do pretty much anything they want.