donderdag 20 februari 2014

Facebook and Whatsapp, why worry?

The deal of the year, Facebook buys Whatsapp. And even before the dust settles, the privacy world is screaming murder. The privacy denying company buying a private messaging company spells doom for the privacy of hundreds of millions of users. You are warned to leave Whatsapp if you care for your privacy...

But is your privacy really at stake? Is the merger a new threat?

Facebook knows a lot about you. It knows your friends and relations, your likes, your updates, your whereabouts and it even knows what you would like to post but never really did. Facebook not only has access to your metadat, it has all content as well.
Whatsapp knows a lot about your telephone number. It knows the telephone numbers your phone number connects with and it has an enormous amount of metadata of all connections made.
And since both companies are American, you can bet that the NSA and it's friends have access to these (meta)data too.

But, and it's a big but, as long as a Facebook profile doesn't contain a telephone number, Facebook has no way to connect a profile with all Whatsapp metadata. There is no way to correlate a human profile with a phone profile.
It's a big but, but Facebook and Whatsapp live in different worlds en never the twain shall meet. So in my opinion there is no new privacy risk. If you really care for your privacy surely you would have left Facebook a long time ago?
So as far as I 'm concerned there is no need to dump Whatsapp. There are bigger threats to your privacy.

There's a second but, and that's a bit more tricky. A Facebook app and a Whatsapp app on a smartphone are different apps and they don't share between them, the operating system of the smartphone takes care of separation. Unless the operating system doesn't. I would say, stay away from any Facebook marketed phone...

So, until Facebook asks for your phone number, or you provide your phone number to Facebook, don't worry.

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