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Popular Chat App WhatsApp Faulted for Privacy Violations

WhatsApp-Logo-580x338These days, the smartphone and tablet computer are among some of the most popular and widely-used tools that exist in the world. It seems like just about everyone has some kind of advanced little smartphone in their pocket or purse, and they’re basically just little tiny computers that just so happen to make phone calls at this point. It’s tough to believe that before 2007, the modern smartphone as we know it today didn’t even exist. The iPhone changed all that, however, and now we’ve got an entire market full of advanced smartphones that you might hope to pick from if you’re thinking about upgrading your technology situation. Similarly, the tablet computer has taken the world by storm. We had always imagined that one day tablet computers would be developed to a degree that wind up giving them some serious usability. In 2010, Apple introduced the world to the iPad, and things haven’t really been the same since. In just under three years, and entire tablet computer market has risen up and now consumers have a ton of choices if they’re thinking about adding to their technology arsenals.

All of this crazy technological development of course means that there is an ever-increasing demand for applications and programs that users can install on their wonderful little devices. Apple’s App Store software coined the phrase “There’s an App for That,” and this continues to be true of just about everything. If you want to do it, there’s an application that can help you get it done. WhatsApp is one of the most popular of these such applications, and is used by millions throughout the world. The app is designed to allow users to send text messages for free, no matter what service provider is being used. This is great for international and cross-platform texting, but the application has come under fire for violating privacy regulations in both Canada and the Netherlands.

WhatsApp requires that users submit the details of their contact lists when installing WhatsApp, but this isn’t the problem. Once the list is uploaded, WhatsApp actually retains the phone numbers of contacts who don’t actually use the service, instead of simply deleting this information from any and all servers. Privacy laws in the Netherlands and Canada stipulate that this isn’t OK, and that personal information can only be held if it’s going to actually be used for the service.

Since WhatsApp is a very big deal, it’s going to make some changes to its terms of service and hopefully appease these European courts. The app is used for everything from small business management to simple chatting among friends, so it will be smart for them to fix this apparent oversight. It’s interesting to see the ways in which we’re continuing to develop our technological capabilities. Apps like this one make it clear that as we get more and more connected, we’ve got to make sure that we’re all respectful of others’ privacy.