“Is it secret? Is it safe?” – Gandalf – Fellowship of the Ring – J. R. R. Tolkien
Those immortal words were spoken about quite a different subject matter than the one we’re addressing today: A magical ring that was once seen as just a clever trick. Those words were fuelled by worry, by traumatic experience, and by healthy paranoia.
We’re no wizards of course; our knowledge is limited to this too, too solid realm (read some Shakespeare if you don’t get the reference). And yet many of us had those same questions immediately spring to mind when WhatsApp recently announced their Terms of Service changes. The line that sparked the most alarm was:
“WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, the other Facebook Companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate.”