Anyone who has used at least once WhatsApp knows that the application access our contacts so we can send messages to all our friends and acquaintances. But according to the consideration of Canadian “Guarantor of Privacy”, and the Dutch authorities in charge of data protection, the application is contrary to some privacy laws.
“The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Dutch Data Protection Authority, in a joint report released on Monday, said the app violated privacy laws because users have to provide access to all phone numbers in their address book, including both users and non-users of the app.
“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,” said Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch Data Protection Authority.”
Thanks to a feature in iOS 6, it is now possible not to allow an application to access to our entire address book. However, the feature does not allow users to only give access to certain contacts.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp have to cover this flaw or have to deal with the heavy fines, not to mention the long-term consequences. We will keep you updated.