“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.”
This was mainly a move to help sell targeted advertising by sharing demographics and the like within the Company Group. But people had a lot of privacy concerns, of course.
After a massive amount of backlash, WhatsApp reassured its users that private conversations will remain private, and they pushed back the effective data sharing date a couple of times, to declare it ultimately to happen on May 15th.
The last few weeks have been an absolute maelstrom of scientific discussion, whispered rumours, shouted lies, online messenger turf wars, conspiracy theories, expert opinions, and mass confusion.
All of it boils down to two basic questions that still need to be answered, however:
Is WhatsApp secret? Is WhatsApp safe?
What do you think?
The Story continues…..