Another powerful new WhatsApp update has just been revealed, as the world’s leading secure messaging platform continues to build out its functionality. We’ve already had an expansion to 8-party video calls, while QR contact codes, encrypted cloud backups and multi-device access are in beta or test. Now more features have been added to latest update. But it’s not all good news—there’s a problem under the surface that looks set to become more of an issue this year.
This sort of data transfer is not uncommon, especially for Facebook; plenty of apps use Facebook’s software development kits (SDK) as a means to implement features into their apps more easily, which also has the effect of sending information to Facebook. But Zoom users may not be aware it is happening, nor understand that when they use one product, they may be providing data to another service altogether.
Earlier today, March 16, Brave filed a formal complaint against Google with the lead General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforcer in Europe.
In a February Cointelegraph interview, Dr. Johnny Ryan, Brave’s chief policy and industry relations officer, explained that Google is abusing its power by sharing user data collected by dozens of its distinct services, creating a “free for all” data warehouse. According to Ryan, this was a clear violation of the GDPR.
Aggravated with the situation and the lack of enforcement against the giant, Ryan promised to take Google to court if things don’t change for the better.
Whisper, a popular social app that lets people anonymously post confessions and secrets, reportedly left a database exposed that tied messages to a user’s age, location and other details. Records for millions of messages were viewable to anyone on a database that was open to the public internet, according to a report Tuesday from The Washington Post.
The database didn’t contain real names but tied anonymous whispers to “a user’s stated age, ethnicity, gender, hometown, nickname and any membership in groups, many of which are devoted to sexual confessions and discussion of sexual orientation and desires,” according to the Post. The data also reportedly included location coordinates for a person’s most recent whisper.
Facebook wants you to think it’s consistently increasing transparency about how the company stores and uses your data. But the company still isn’t revealing everything to its users, according to an investigation by Privacy International.
The obvious holes in Facebook’s privacy data exports paint a picture of a company that aims to placate users’ concerns without actually doing anything to change its practices.
Data lists are incomplete — The most pressing issue with Facebook’s downloadable privacy data is that it’s incomplete. Privacy International’s investigation tested the “Ads and Business” section on Facebook’s “Download Your Information” page, which purports to tell users which advertisers have been targeting them with ads.
The investigation found that the list of advertisers actually changes over time, seemingly at random. This essentially makes it impossible for users to develop a full understanding of which advertisers are using their data. In this sense, Facebook’s claims of transparency are inaccurate and misleading.
Google is to move the data and user accounts of its British users from the EU to the US, placing them outside the strong privacy protections offered by European regulators.
The shift, prompted by Britain’s exit from the EU, will leave the sensitive personal information of tens of millions not covered by Europe’s world-leading General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore with less protection and within easier reach of British law enforcement.