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Facebook has agreed to pause data collection from WhatsApp users in the United Kingdom following a government probe into the company's privacy policy (via Engadget).

Back in August, Facebook-owned WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policy to reflect that it would begin sharing select data with the social media network, including the phone number a user verifies during the registration process and the last time a user accessed the service.

WhatsApp_facebook.jpg

Facebook argued that the new policy would allow it to better fight spam and abuse, deliver better friend suggestions and more relevant ads. However, the company soon came under fire from European Privacy watchdogs who cited "serious concerns" over the policy change, while the U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is now eight weeks into its own probe.

The U.K.'s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham explained the reasons for the probe on the ICO website:
"I had concerns that consumers weren't being properly protected, and it's fair to say the enquiries my team have made haven't changed that view. I don't think users have been given enough information about what Facebook plans to do with their information, and I don't think WhatsApp has got valid consent from users to share the information. I also believe users should be given ongoing control over how their information is used, not just a 30-day window."
ICO said it was "pleased" that Facebook had agreed to pause using data from U.K. WhatsApp users for advertisements or product improvement purposes. As part of the inquiry, the ICO has also asked Facebook to sign an "undertaking" that describes how it will collect and use data and give users "ongoing control" over what is shared.
We also want individuals to have the opportunity to be given an unambiguous choice before Facebook start using that information and to be given the opportunity to change that decision at any point in the future. We think consumers deserve a greater level of information and protection, but so far Facebook and WhatsApp haven't agreed. If Facebook starts using the data without valid consent, it may face enforcement action from my office.
WhatsApp's updated terms and privacy policy did not affect its encryption policy. All messages sent through the service continue to be end-to-end encrypted, a measure that has been in place since April.

Article Link: Facebook Suspends WhatsApp Data Sharing in the U.K. Following Privacy Probe
 
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kstotlani

macrumors 6502a
Oct 27, 2006
698
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Data sharing and end-to-end encryption both at the same time? I don't understand.

I hope Whatsapp dies sooner than later, the sooner imessage is made out for Android the better, or some other messaging app.

Signal app does that for you. Really encryption and complete privacy. Unfortunately not too famous in the general domain.
 
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MacBH928

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May 17, 2008
6,506
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Signal app does that for you. Really encryption and complete privacy. Unfortunately not too famous in the general domain.

The problem is no one wants to understand how much Facebook and Google invade your privacy and they just keep using Whatsapp. Other options like Signal are useless when you know no one to chat with on.
 
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sofila

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,103
1,233
Ramtop Mountains
Everyone uses the app needed for keeping in touch with his social group. There is no "better app". You use the one you need. It's useless to say there are better apps than others.
 
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Vroem

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2002
56
4
Brussels, Belgium, Europe
iMessage doesn't have this problem. The content of your private messages shouldn't be a moneymaking revenue system for some untrustworthy company.
WhatsApp does not access the content of your messages. Only your phone number and and "aggregated analytical data" are shared with Facebook.
 
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shk718

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2007
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WhatsApp does not access the content of your messages. Only your phone number and and "aggregated analytical data" are shared with Facebook.
1. prove to me that WhatsApp doesn't scan the content of my messages. 2. I don't want my phone number shared with ANYONE 3. I don't want when I use the app shared with ANYONE. Facebook has the WORST privacy policies, I don't trust them to maintain my privacy even if they claim they are. I'm glad they are being investigated.
 
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Yaemon

macrumors regular
Oct 16, 2014
131
414
If only we had iMessage for Android, all those lame spyware apps like Whatsapp would quickly be eradicated...
 
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MecPro

macrumors 6502a
Mar 6, 2009
558
280
London
This is good news

When they originally signed the deal they said nothing will be shared at all. Now we had a 30 day window to opt out, which of course was hidden behind another menu that most people would not have found
 
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Alenore

macrumors 6502
Apr 7, 2013
423
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Data sharing and end-to-end encryption both at the same time? I don't understand.
The actual message is encrypted, however Whatsapp still has to transmit it. thus, they know from which phone, to which number, and when.
[doublepost=1478637920][/doublepost]
1. prove to me that WhatsApp doesn't scan the content of my messages. 2. I don't want my phone number shared with ANYONE 3. I don't want when I use the app shared with ANYONE. Facebook has the WORST privacy policies, I don't trust them to maintain my privacy even if they claim they are. I'm glad they are being investigated.
1. Prove us they do
2. Then WhatsApp isn't the app to use anyway, and they don't look at it : they use it to check if your account exists on Facebook and match people
3. Why do you even care ?

As to prove they don't read it : end to end encryption. If they can, then Apple can as well.
 
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shk718

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2007
1,117
1,098
The actual message is encrypted, however Whatsapp still has to transmit it. thus, they know from which phone, to which number, and when.
[doublepost=1478637920][/doublepost]
1. Prove us they do
2. Then WhatsApp isn't the app to use anyway, and they don't look at it : they use it to check if your account exists on Facebook and match people
3. Why do you even care ?

As to prove they don't read it : end to end encryption. If they can, then Apple can as well.


you're the one who said they definitely weren't. if you know this for a fact then prove it. I, and apparently the UK government have doubts. Why do I care about my privacy? because it's important to me. Because I don't want identity theft, credit card numbers stolen, harassment, the list goes on. If I don't feel a company is capable/willing to protect it then I'm not going to use their services. Facebook bought an app I have used and they're disregard for privacy is legendary. That's why I care. (you do realize you just contradicted yourself? "they don't look at it : they use it")
 
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begemotik228

macrumors member
Aug 2, 2014
36
54
EU
The actual message is encrypted, however Whatsapp still has to transmit it. thus, they know from which phone, to which number, and when.
[doublepost=1478637920][/doublepost]
1. Prove us they do
2. Then WhatsApp isn't the app to use anyway, and they don't look at it : they use it to check if your account exists on Facebook and match people
3. Why do you even care ?

As to prove they don't read it : end to end encryption. If they can, then Apple can as well.
End to end encryption is not proof that they don't read it. It means that the messages are transmitted encrypted between you and the receiver. On your phone, it's accessible by the app hence it's possible for it to submit it elsewhere. (And it actually does so with iCloud chat backups, which is just an example of how purportedly "e2e encrypted" data may end up in certain other places)
 
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C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
51,388
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you're the one who said they definitely weren't. if you know this for a fact then prove it. I, and apparently the UK government have doubts. Why do I care about my privacy? because it's important to me. Because I don't want identity theft, credit card numbers stolen, harassment, the list goes on. If I don't feel a company is capable/willing to protect it then I'm not going to use their services. Facebook bought an app I have used and they're disregard for privacy is legendary. That's why I care. (you do realize you just contradicted yourself? "they don't look at it : they use it")
So what supports the earlier implication that the content was being read and used for something?
iMessage doesn't have this problem. The content of your private messages shouldn't be a moneymaking revenue system for some untrustworthy company.
 
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MacBH928

Contributor
May 17, 2008
6,506
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I am in a country where Telegram is block and can be accessed via VPN but not Whatsapp...

is this enough proof that Whatsapp is an open book?
 
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tangfish

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2014
226
269
I think I'll stick to iMessage and Signal.

It makes no sense to me why supposedly privacy-conscious services like Signal and Telegram make it mandatory that users give access to their entire contacts list. That single requirement prevents me from using either service.
 
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itsmilo

Suspended
Sep 15, 2016
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Berlin, Germany
It makes no sense to me why supposedly privacy-conscious services like Signal and Telegram make it mandatory that users give access to their entire contacts list. That single requirement prevents me from using either service.

cuz the App needs to know who actually uses it? i dont want to add people manually by asking for their user name or something. that is so MSN ca 2006
 
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tangfish

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2014
226
269
cuz the App needs to know who actually uses it? i dont want to add people manually by asking for their user name or something. that is so MSN ca 2006

I agree it's convenient to just look up all your contacts, so it's a logical option to have, but a mandatory requirement seems like a stupid way for it to work. For me I have a small subset that I'd like to chat privately with, why do I need to upload thousands of my contacts to their servers to do so? Seems like the opposite of privacy if you ask me.
 
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Vroem

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2002
56
4
Brussels, Belgium, Europe
why do I need to upload thousands of my contacts to their servers to do so? Seems like the opposite of privacy if you ask me.

iOS currently can not restrict App access to a subset of your contacts. The App can only ask for everything otherwise it's nothing. This does NOT mean all these contacts are uploaded to the developer's server. Apple requires developer to explicitly mention that to the user.

Signal for example does not mention transferring all of your contacts, only the data they need about the contacts you are communicating with.

Apple promises to remove any app from the App Store that violates their own privacy agreement. Devs are also obliged to link to their privacy agreement in the App Store description.

Not defending anyone here, but I think it's important to know more or less where we stand to avoid paranoia.
 
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tangfish

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2014
226
269
iOS currently can not restrict App access to a subset of your contacts. The App can only ask for everything otherwise it's nothing. This does NOT mean all these contacts are uploaded to the developer's server. Apple requires developer to explicitly mention that to the user.

Signal for example does not mention transferring all of your contacts, only the data they need about the contacts you are communicating with.

Apple promises to remove any app from the App Store that violates their own privacy agreement. Devs are also obliged to link to their privacy agreement in the App Store description.

Not defending anyone here, but I think it's important to know more or less where we stand to avoid paranoia.

Well, that might be reassuring to some, but for me I still don't think it's a reasonable trade off to offer access to ALL my contacts in order to use the app to message even a single person. Even Whatsapp allows usage (albeit a bit neutered) without granting access to all contacts.

I'm not saying it should be that way by default, but it'd be nice to at least offer the option for people to use the app without granting access to all of one's contacts - being apps ostensibly focused on privacy.
 
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