Facebook Deal Breaks WhatsApp Privacy Promise

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Alvin Bryan

Alvin Bryan is a freelance writer and online privacy enthusiast enthusiast currently contributing quality tips and troubleshooting on personal VPN services, and online privacy and security news. You can also find him on Google +.

WhatsApp Privacy PolicyWhatsApp promised users that they would not gather a lot of data on their users. And they also promised that they would not use this data for ads. But with Facebook acquiring the app, theses promises are about to be broken. WhatsApp privacy is going to become a thing of the past if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not block the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp.

What Becomes of WhatsApp Privacy Promises

If WhatsApp is acquired by Facebook and becomes a part of that operation, it could be subject to the same terms. This means that WhatsApp users will also probably become subject to the same terms and conditions as Facebook users. In terms of data gathering, in means that WhatsApp user data will become fully accessible to Facebook. This is already a huge violation of the WhatsApp privacy policy that was in force when users signed up. Not having their chat data recorded and stored is a big deal for many WhatsApp users. Furthermore, the data that is gathered can also be used by Facebook for ad purposes. WhatsApp privacy states that this will not be done. So users’ WhatsApp privacy is essentially in danger of being erased.

Facebook WhatsApp Privacy

Read the full Facebook Data Use Policy

The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
WhatsApp privacy advocates have both commented that WhatsApp privacy will be lost in the hands of Facebook. These Washington D.C. WhatsApp privacy advocates have formally petitioned the FTC to probe Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. They stressed that in the interest of user WhatsApp privacy, the deal be shut down if it violates the current policies.

The WhatsApp messaging is known and trusted by its users as a pro-privacy service. They rely on the privacy policy that they have with WhatsApp. And they cannot be expected to know that this policy may soon no longer exist. Furthermore, many users were attracted to WhatsApp because it is a service that boldly and firmly states that it does not want to profit from users’ data. This will al change if WhatsApp privacy falls under the standard Facebook data policies.

EU to Investigate WhatsApp Deal

When the 19 billion dollar acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook hit the presses, the EU began planning to investigate how WhatsApp data would be used. Jacob Kohnstamm is at the forefront of this move. Kohnstamm is the head of the top EU privacy regulation authority Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. As many as 28 other EU data protection agencies could begin investigating the matter as well. A Dutch regulator is already looking into WhatsApp, which has a current client base of over 450 million users. Kohnstamm is concerned because he is aware that WhatsApp is a virtual gold mine of user data. And WhatsApp users are not as careful as Facebook users have learned to be. WhatsApp privacy has protected them from having to hold their tongues and tread lightly.

Read More:

Facebook-WhatsApp deal may face detailed CCI scrutiny
WhatsApp for Android gets new privacy settings and lets you pay for a friend’s subscription
WhatsApp Adds Privacy Settings, Says Facebook Won’t Change Its ‘Values’