WhatsApp, the instant-messaging client beloved of people too cheap to text, appears to contravene international privacy laws because of the way it forces users to grant it access to their entire address book.
Reuters reports that both the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Dutch Data Protection Authority have released reports explaining that the app violates privacy laws. They explain that the way the app takes control of the address book, commandeering all the phone numbers within — including both users and non-users of the app — is unlawful. Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch Data Protection Authority, explains:
"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."
The agencies claims they will continue to monitor WhatsApp, and may even begin to impose penalties upon it if it continues to use the same model. So far there's no word from WhatsApp about the allegations. [Reuters]
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