WhatsApp not doing enough to protect user data from surveillance: EFF

By : |July 13, 2017 0

Facebook-owned WhatsApp may be one of the most popular means of communicating with friends and family across the globe but users need to be cautious while using the messaging app as it does not provide enough protection to users against surveillance. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) a digital rights group has given WhatsApp a two stars rating in its privacy-scoring report for 2017, claiming that it does not explicitly rule out data being used for surveillance purposes.

The EFF report focusses on how companies deal with government regulations for data about its users. The companies are then given a rating between zero and five depending on several factors such as whether the users were informed about the data requests and whether they explicitly promise not to fight requests for information.

Besides WhatsApp, Amazon was the other tech giant that fared just above the telecommunications carriers on how well they protect user data against the United States government intervention. “They don’t have the strong public policies related to notifying users of government data requests that we have come to expect from tech companies; they don’t publicly promise to request judicial review of National Security Letters

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“They don’t have the strong public policies related to notifying users of government data requests that we have come to expect from tech companies; they don’t publicly promise to request judicial review of National Security Letters (NSLs); and they aren’t meeting our criterion about not selling out users. We urge both Amazon and WhatsApp to improve their policies in the coming year so they match the standards of other major online services,” the report said.

The companies with the five-star rating included Adobe, Dropbox, Uber, Lyft, Pinterest, WordPress, Credo Mobile, Sonic, and Wickr; while tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo alongside Slack and LinkedIn scored four out of five stars.

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