WhatsApp Not Equipped To Protect Users' Privacy: Report

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 14, 2017


The popular instant messaging app, WhatsApp seems to have faltered to secure an end-to-end encryption for its billion users around the globe.

The policies of the messaging app are not fortified enough to protect user privacy from government, says a new report by a digital rights group.

Even tech goliaths such as Apple, Facebook, and Google can be more robust to fully stand behind their users, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual report entitled “Who Has Your Back”.

“WhatsApp does not explicitly state that it prohibits third-party access to its user data, nor does it say that third parties are prohibited from allowing WhatsApp user data to be used for surveillance purposes,” the report said.

“Our reading of WhatsApp’s public-facing policies would not prohibit it from sharing data to be used for surveillance,” the report added.

The EFF’s report evaluates how companies deal with requests from governments for data about its users.

In this era of unprecedented digital surveillance and widespread political upheaval, the data stored on our cell phones, laptops, and especially our online services are a magnet for government actors seeking to track citizens, journalists, and activists, it said.

“When governments do so, they need to follow the law, and users are increasingly demanding that companies holding their data enact the toughest policies to protect customer information,” said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman.

Nine companies earned stars in every category this year- Adobe, Credo, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr and Wordpress. 

Amazon and WhatsApp’s policies fall short of other similar technology companies- both of which earned two stars.

The four lowest performing companies are all telecoms- AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Verizon, each scoring just one star, the report added.