For an average internet user, online safety is the first and foremost priority, when browsing online. Nevertheless, ever since the social networks came into existence, in last one decade, online security is a thing of past. It doesn’t matter if you lock your albums or provide minimal information on social profiles, you end up comprising your online security via apps, exchange of media files and shady looking links embedded in videos and GIFs circulating all over the internet. WhatsApp (a popular phone messenger service) is no different than other social sites, in this regard.
Recently, the Federal of German Consumer Organization has filed a legal case against WhatsApp in the Berlin state court. It’s a Germany-based public forum that protects consumer rights. Putting up a question on WhatsApp’s data sharing practices, the group has stated a valid reason behind this lawsuit. According to them, WhatsApp follows a shady process while acquiring and sharing data.
On January 30, Monday, the group filed the lawsuit on the grounds that “WhatsApp unethically collects, stores, utilizes a user’s data and passes it on to Facebook illegally”. While we know that Facebook won’t misuse this data for grave purposes like spreading terrorism, however, it’s ‘unethical’ of WhatsApp to do this.
Ever since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acquired this global messaging service in the summer of 2014, WhatsApp has been functioning under Facebook’s wing. It was a $19 billion deal that attract attention worldwide. Since then, WhatsApp (which is a phone number based messaging service) has been sharing their user numbers with Facebook. Probably this is why we’ve been seeing many of our phone contacts appearing in the ‘Friend Suggestions’ column on Facebook.
This angered consumer attorneys in Germany as well as other countries. While WhatsApp claims that it has updated all its terms and conditions in line with appropriate laws, we can’t say for sure if they’re sticking to their word. The company claims it has ‘temporarily stopped’ using the data of European WhatsApp customers for advertising purpose on Facebook. However, it can’t be said for other countries.