back to article WhatsApp founder: Privacy WON'T vanish under Facebook

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has insisted that his messaging service's privacy policies will stay the same after it's slurped by Facebook, while lamenting "baseless, unfounded and irresponsible" reports about how the social network may use users' data. "I want to make sure you understand how deeply I value the principle of private …

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WhatsApp Permissions...

"WhatsApp has never collected additional personal details like names, addresses, emails or GPS data"

I write this as I've just received a notification from my currently installed version of WhatsApp, saying that I MUST update the software to retain functionality.

The permissions list includes access to my phone book, SMS messages, emails and a plethora of additional information.

Whether they collect/store the data is irrelevent, they already have the permissions in place to do so at any point should they wish.

Would post anon, but not much point if they have that much information... ;-)

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Re: WhatsApp Permissions...

Not to mention all the security problems they have, which pretty much guarantee no privacy...

Outdated and cracked SSL encryption

API that lets anyone shovel random phone numbers in to find out if they are registered and the details behind the number...

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Anonymous Coward

That’s just not true

Disingenuous to say the least,

The WhatsApp guy may even be telling the truth (as far as he is concerned).

However once FB gets it's hands on mobile phone numbers does he really think they won't mine the ID of the owners and cross reference them?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That’s just not true

Well, yes. Going back to the article:

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has insisted that his messaging service's privacy policies will stay the same after it's slurped by Facebook, while lamenting "baseless, unfounded and irresponsible" reports about how the social network may use users' data.

1 - WhatsApp was BOUGHT, which is AFAIK not exactly "partnering". Ergo, that privacy policy (and Jan Koum's supposed ability to control events) is already history.

2 - There is no possible way to make me believe Jan Koum would have refused to sell for what is frankly an insane amount of money, just on the basis of some privacy policy change, especially not since WhatsApp won't even work unless it has copied your entire address book.

3 - please stop pretending there ever was any sort of privacy and confidentiality in this service. It's a US company, for Christ's sake - there is simply no ability to protect private data there.

So, for me they can cut the cr*p. I don't think they're fooling anyone.

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Anonymous Coward

HAHAHAHA!

He's very naive to believe that the god known as Zuckerberg would not use whatever it can get it's hands on to make money.

WhatsApp may not record personal details but I doubt it is much of a stretch for Facebook to work out that the person using the app on a mobile device is probably the same person who logged into Facebook on that same mobile device. That's even before it gives itself access to whatever local storage the app uses.

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Re: HAHAHAHA!

"the god known as Zuckerberg"

You spelled "dog" incorrectly.

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Pul the other one

Come on, FB are going to pay 19 billion for a company that will take decades on current earnings to pay it back let alone make a profit.......

Not in a million years, there must be something that they want or they wouldn't be buying, and that has to be data and the ability to obtain more data.....

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Anonymous Coward

Silly buggers Facebook should have sold to Microshaft when they had the chance.

Becoming a web service giant like Google likely means Microsoft are now out to ScoogleFace them.

All in that dodgy stealth like Microsoft cause 'privacy' of course.

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Baseless?

...while lamenting "baseless, unfounded and irresponsible" reports...

Baseless?

Does he think he's sold WhatsApp to a different Facebook than the one the rest of us know?

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Re: Baseless?

Given Facebook's reputation, here in Germany, just about every news and comment show on TV ran their own bits on what messaging apps you should look at, now that you've been facebooked.

Threema and Telegram have been doing great business here.

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Anonymous Coward

Surrendered Control

Koum can say what he likes, but he no longer has any control over WhatsApp's privacy policy so his opinion either way is irrelevant - the wonks at Facebook will now decide what can and can not be shared/mined.

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Re: Surrendered Control

Strictly speaking, as long as he's CEO he can run the company how he likes until the owners fire him. If I were in his shoes, I'd be tempted to piss off Facebook enough that they paid me to retire.

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Coat

Errr....

... "The fact that we couldn’t speak freely without the fear that our communications would be monitored by KGB is in part why we moved to the United States when I was a teenager," he said of his family

...DOH!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Errr....

Given the way the NSA has been more or less pardoned for what they do I guess he must be packing to return where he came from...

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WTF?

Pardoned ?!??

In what world ?

The NSA has most certainly not been pardoned. If it had been, the citizens would have dropped the subject and moved back to sports.

The NSA is not "pardoned", it's just that the NSA doesn't have to give a flying one whether the People like it or not.

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Anonymous Coward

Telegram

So, the founder of What'sApp slams suggestions that the security policies won't change under Facebook... if that is true, then he won't have a problem giving users that assurance in writing.

Time to look at alternatives, such as Telegram, an open, cross-platform messenger that emphasis security:

https://telegram.org/faq#q-why-should-i-trust-you

The wonderful thing is, nobody is 'tied' to WhatsApp, since its only used between friends who have each others phone numbers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Telegram

If someone moves it out of the US this may have a future.

Until then I think I'll stick with Threema.

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Anonymous Coward

yeah right!!

pull the other one, as soon as the deal was announced i deleted our accounts that day - we now have stuck to the bbm app which works for us.

Shame as i really liked whatspp but really cannot stand FB and wont have anything to do with that company, - i cannot trust a company that will reset security and privacy settings on every turn.

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Utter bollocks. You don't cough up 19Bn for altruism. Zuck has a purpose in mind and seeing as his main biz is selling data then it doesn't take a genius to see what that purpose is.

Believing that the service will stay unchanged and that your data will remain secure is an act of world-class naiveté. The only way that statement can be true is if the service was already milking it's users as hard as possible; but then that would mean the main selling point (ie, won't sell you to advertisers) was a lie. I say again...bollocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Oxometer starting to twitch....

If Whatsapp aren't interested in GPS positioning information, then why did it insits that I turned it on prior to sending a picture message or answer me questioning why?

Bye bye Whatsapp and the datamining SpammedIn app. Only one left now if Facebook...

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Already uninstalled this app...

Belief in any form of privacy now FB have their grubby hands all over this app is madness. Backdoors will abound it a matter of months. IT is not a partnership in a form. $19bn does not equal partnership. They a owned by FB. Koum has sold out. It was fun while it lasted...

I'd like to present 'Line' as a fresh alternative.

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WTF?

"If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it."

I have two comments . . .

First, from what I know of Koum (not much) he seems like a good bloke, focussed and committed. BUT. The calculations I have seen have him at ~$7bn thanks to this 'partnership'. Maybe he is the second-coming and maybe I am much the opposite but I can't think of any value I hold so dear that I wouldn't sell it for seven billion dollars. Can't judge him based on my own failings but damn, that's a lot of beer money.

Second, how would he stop Facebook doing exactly what he claims will never happen? I understand he will be on the FB board once this is done but even if he is as staunch a supporter of privacy in the board room as he claims in the media, he may still find himself 8-v-1 and is thus in no position to assure his customers of anything.

No offence to the guy - he seems nice enough, but if he's promising no changes, I'm not sure he is in a position to deliver - no matter how strong his resolve or good his intentions.

From what I see, this 'partnership', even if it collects no other information than phone numbers can help FB build a strong picture of which FB friends actually communicate with each other in the 'real world'. In the never-ending search for more 'relevance' in online advertising, this information is not trivial when matched up to Facebook profiles.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

Does anyone know how to properly request for a server-side deletion of Whatsapp account data currently held by Whatsapp?

As in, who to speak to? How to phrase the request?

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