It isn't a good day for the makers of the highly popular WhatsApp, as the Canadian and Dutch governments have accused the app of violating privacy laws. WhatsApp allows users to send text messages to others for free over the Internet, and with that kind of functionality on offer, it's become of the most popular apps in the world. Therefore, these alleged violations may just put a lot of users on alert.
In a joint report, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Dutch Data Protection Authority took issue with the fact that WhatsApp asks for permission to view a user's phonebook. Of course, granting that permission is required to use the app, and Dutch Data Protection Authority chairman Jacob Kohnstamm says that's no good. According to him, WhatsApp needs to let users decide precisely what kind of personal data they share with it.
The worries of these Dutch and Canadian privacy authorities doesn't end there, though. They claim that WhatsApp is storing the phone numbers of non-users, which would again be a violation of privacy laws. For the moment, it seems that WhatsApp is staying quiet on these most recent privacy allegations, as it hasn't issued a statement on them yet.
WhatsApp is available on a number of different platforms including Android, which means that many different users could be affected by these privacy concerns. The Duth Data Protection Authority doesn't appear to be ready to take any action, as it says it will monitor WhatsApp moving forward, handing out penalties if these perceived violations continue. Stay tuned.