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WhatsApp and Facebook could face legal action from privacy groups over data sharing policy

By midian182 · 5 replies
Aug 29, 2016
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  1. When Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014, the messaging service vowed that its focus on user privacy wouldn’t change. Last week, an update to the company’s terms-of-service appeared to backtrack on this pledge, something that privacy groups and watchdogs on both sides of the Atlantic are unhappy about.

    Two groups voicing their concerns are the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic) in the US and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

    The ICO is still in the middle of investigating the matter, but Epic has already filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against WhatsApp and Facebook. The organization says the update violates the FTC act that prohibits “unfair or deceptive trade practices." Specifically, this refers to WhatsApp’s promise in 2014 that it wouldn’t share personally identifiable information such as phone numbers. Epic is also critical of the fact that users have to opt-out of sharing their data, rather than the system being opt-in.

    WhatsApp defended its policy change in a blog titled “Setting the record straight.” The company says it needs to share user information with Facebook as a way of testing new features, such as the ability for businesses to communicate with customers.

    Sharing account information with Facebook will also help the social network make better friend suggestions and deliver more relevant ads. WhatsApp said this would also enable it to “fight spam and abuse, and improve experiences across our services and those of Facebook and the Facebook family.”

    There’s still time left to opt-out of having certain account information shared with Facebook to “improve ads and products experiences.”

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2016
  2. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 753   +347

    No one is forced to use these services. If you are against the TOS, you do have the option to not use them. I regularly don't use services I don't like everyday. If I can do it, I am sure anyone can with enough practice.
  3. deemon

    deemon TS Addict Posts: 245   +66

    "legal action"? it's like a jackie chan movie, but without actually kicking anyone? or like a grandma going over the street ... with green light ffs!
    I face legal action every day. NOTHING happens and I am dying of boredom.... oh no.... now facebook and whatsapp are facing boredom also? awww....
  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,161   +831

    I normally go around with geo location off, but yesterday I needed some information from google maps and forgot to turn it off, later I took some pictures inside a restaurant and oh my surprise, when google was asking me if I wanted to add those pictures into the restaurants site. Now I couldn't care less about this.
  5. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 379   +133

    Thanks for the link on how to unset it. I don't remember agreeing to any new ToS but the option was present and ticked so I have removed it.
    @Rippleman, while I would be happy to protest about it by uninstalling the app, that doesn't help me communicate with those of my friends that are still using it.
  6. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 753   +347

    Then it appears you will have keep using it.

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