back to article Privacy warriors lob sueball at Facebook buyout of WhatsApp

Privacy groups have filed with the US Federal Trade Commission to try to block Facebook's $19bn acquisition of WhatsApp until the social network comes clean on how it's going to use the personal data of the messaging service's 450 million users. Non-profit groups the Electronic Privacy Information Centre and the Centre for …


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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Swedish Chef

    "...and privacy policies would not change."

    Looking forward to the next shareholder party.

    "Yes, I spent 19 billion of your money on WhatsApp. That's $45 per phonebook for data that we're not going to use."

    It's like an 80's rock star saying he bought that suitcase of cocaine just to look at it.

  3. vonBureck

    Pro-privacy messaging service??

    Could someone who uses the Whatsit thing explain to me how sending a company all your phone contacts enhances your privacy?

    1. Swedish Chef

      It's in how they use the data.

      WhatsApp is a paid service (albeit a very cheap one). In exchange for your money they won't sell your data to World + dog and bombard you with ads. Basically how most services worked in the last millennium.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's in how they use the data.

        In exchange for your money they won't sell your data to World + dog

        Really? The first thing that WhatsCrap does is suck your contacts database, regardless of how much you pay.

        I loved this bit of the filing:

        WhatsApp users could not reasonably have anticipated that by selecting a pro-privacy messaging service, they would subject their data to Facebook’s data collection practices

        "Pro-privacy"? Bwahahahaha. Whoever wrote that really needs an award, something like "best BS of 2014" or something. The sad thing is that some people might even believe that.

        1. moiety

          Re: It's in how they use the data.

          WhatsApp do really make a big thing out of not selling you out to advertisers. Linked on the first page of the site:

 subscribing to the service would include a reasonable expectation of privacy from advertisers that -after being sold to FB- is no longer there. Unfortunately, subscriber's data still is.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: the rich are consolidating their power


      1. James O'Brien
        Paris Hilton

        Re: the rich are consolidating their power

        Did Webster Phreaky switch from Apple hating to just plain hating now?

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: the rich are consolidating their power

      I see your 'what ' and raise you a 'the fuck'. Since we both appear confused perhaps Truth4u will break it down for us. I have so many questions.

      What happens when the rich have completed their consolidation? Will they form some manner of Voltron? Assuming that while they were in Voltron form they would be structured like any other unified conglomerate, how would taxation work? Particularly important, if only one of the individual elements (let's say the left leg) had been utilizing a Bias-Ply Flying Dutchman tax strategy would that convey and apply to the new entity? If the unified entity fell short of expectations and was reduced to its individual elements would transfers of assets and liabilities between the entities be allowed before the seperation was formalized?

      I'm assuming the OS will be hardware agnostic, but what about licensing? Will one license suffice or will each component need its own license? If one of the CEO's is enrolled in university, will a student license be OK? What about regional video playback restrictions? Privacy would normally be a primary concern, but I'm going to assume either the US or UK will be involved, so there's no need to even worry about it.

      There's some complex shit in there you know. While you're reviewing the legal/regulatory issues here's a bit more for you to consider.

      Tech is a 'boom' industry and people love that kind of shit. Both the petroleum and gold rush(es) were the same. The big headline stories had the same effect with those industries as they do with tech today. The Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg could have been the guys from Standard Oil.

      Those stories are 'fun' sure, everybody likes to imagine what they would do if roles were reversed. But the fact of the matter is that from the instant somebody figured out you could trade shiny rocks for sex there have always been a teeny tiny little group of fabulously wealthy people. Weighted for population, the total number of those ultra wealthy people and the size of the wealth gap has remained constant for millennia. The thing is, you can't concern yourself with that tiny group. You acknowledge they exist and move on. Laughing occasionally as one of them does something stupid.

      The existence of that group and the headlines greatly distort reality. They give you the impression that the ultra wealthy are the only kind of financially wealthy people, and that's just wrong. So very, very wrong.

      Most people can't really understand the lifestyle a six-figure income can provide. If you don't buy things with insane maintenance costs (sailboat, huge house/castle/palace, Wales) a six figure income will send the kids to college and bail them out of jail, provide you with a very nice home, a few good cars, exciting vacations and a lot of 'freedom'.

      Once you cross into the seven figure realm (in cash and liquid assets, not real estate or art and such) it's a completely different world. A million dollars is a fuckton of money (or .9897 of a metric fuckton). Again, if you don't just go crazy, a million dollars will get you just about anything you could want. You would be very surprised at how many famous people barely get to $1M.

      Once you pass $10M or so you can choose the apex predator you ride to work and you are eligible to hunt White Humans Whales.

      Don't be a fool and think that a handful ultra rich people define any part of your life. Those people aren't helping, or hurting, any aspect of your existence. While I believe all that 'everybody has a chance to make themselves wealthy' nonsense is absolute bullshit, I also believe that there is zero chance of becoming wealthy if you believe other people are preventing you from doing so.

      If you ignore those who inherit wealth, the only common denominator among all wealthy people is an absolutely unshakable will and determination. Any attempt to justify or excuse why you aren't wealthy is, in fact, the reason why you aren't wealthy.

      I'll tell you what I tell all our portfolio companies. Make your plans, take your risks and see what happens. There are no guarantees and it is entirely possible you will drown yourself and your family in an ever rising tide of debt and eternal lawsuits. Alternatively, be a good, talented employee and loving family guy and/or a valuable part of your community. Be a teacher. It doesn't matter, as long as you accept you are the only person responsible for your success (you decide what success is if it's money that's fine, if it's finger painting that's fine too) and happiness. Nobody else.

      If you want to help 3rd world people that's fine. If not that's fine too. But it isn't your place to dictate what others do with their ideas/talent/money.

  5. 's water music Silver badge

    promises, promises

    Calm down dear. If you don't like the look of whatsapp's pro-privacy promises there are plenty* of companies that promise not to be evil. So that's alright then.

    *one (1)

    1. malle-herbert

      Re: promises, promises

      That's great 'n all but how about the data they already HAVE stored on you ?

      Mark Zuckerborg will definetly get his grubby mitts on that whether you start using another service or not...

      1. g e

        Re: promises, promises

        Change your info to rubbish and stop using the app. Chances are they don't version your data updates.

        1. Jediben

          Re: promises, promises

          I haven't updated Whats'app since before the acquisition announcement, and today it told me that the current version will stop working in 14 days. They can just feck off if they think I'm allowing NEW permissions after the Zuck has decided he wants my info!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: promises, promises

        Indeed, they won't sell the data but they sure as hell will mine information from it.

  6. bigtimehustler

    Right, so in a couple of weeks I will be looking for the forced agreement of a new terms and conditions and privacy policy pushed out by WhatsApp that you have to agree to or discontinue using the service. That is really all they are going to do to get around this. They can then turn round and say well, all of our active users have agreed to the new policy, so goodbye lawsuit.

    1. BillG

      You Trusting Fools

      You are assuming that, with 450M users to exploit Zuck cares at all about TOS. Zuck laughs at privacy statements with the intensity of Mike Meyer's Doctor Evil.

      At this point, regardless of anything, if you are using WhatsApp you should consider your privacy already violated.

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    @ Bigtimehustler

    Agreed. It really is as simple as that. I would presume however that there would be an enforced duty of care on them to make sure that these new terms are made very clear to users, rather than burying them down on page 109 as formatted on the screen of your smartphone, section 23, subsection 4, paragraph 6, under the heading "Beware of the Leopard".

    In reality however, even if the full 450,000,000 WhatsApp accounts were fully active and in regular use (which I highly doubt) - I would still make the proposition that 95% of those users really don't give a monkeys about, or even really consider how their data is used - as long as they stay connected by "using" the app.

    Personally, it's not for me - I'm one of the 5% who doesn't touch this stuff with a bargepole. But if others do, then so be it; and I guess it keeps the bods at the Electronic Privacy Information Centre and the Centre for Digital Democracy off of the redundancy pile for another few weeks.

  8. Chris G Silver badge


    Read this:

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