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WhatsApp Breaks Privacy Laws

Sections: Mobile, Smartphones, Web Apps

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Wuh-oh. Turns out WhatsApp, “one of the most popular apps in the world” according to Reuters, has been found by Dutch and Canadian data protection authorities to be breaking international privacy laws.

The instant messaging program, marketed as a viable alternative to text messaging for Android, iOS, and Blackberry, apparently forces users to provide access to their entire address book, including the contact info of non-users of the app.  The Dutch official put it thus:

” ‘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.”

So far, the people at WhatsApp have yet to comment on the statement.  With the atmosphere of higher scrutiny towards a certain social media platform’s abuse of privacy, it’s not hard to see why they’d be hesitant to respond.

Story via [Reuters]

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