News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
You are here: Home / World Wide Web / FTC Is Asked To Block WhatsApp Deal
Gartner's #1 for endpoint backup
Privacy Groups Ask FTC To Block Facebook WhatsApp Deal
Privacy Groups Ask FTC To Block Facebook WhatsApp Deal
By Adam Dickter / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
MARCH
07
2014



It seems Mark Zuckerberg can't buy a bag of groceries these days without raising concerns from privacy activists. But the Facebook founder's multibillion-dollar acquisition of WhatsApp, which allows more than 400 million people to exchange messages and photos, is of so much concern to the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy that the non-profit groups want the government to intervene.

A complaint filed Thursday with the Federal Trade Commission by the two organizations, which we reviewed online, notes that WhatsApp built its reputation and its user base on a commitment not to collect user data for advertising revenue. Facebook, on the other hand, routinely makes use of that data and intends to incorporate WhatsApp data into its user-profiling business model.

App-Rehension

What's at stake? The plaintiffs cite press reports that WhatsApp, founded in 2009 in California by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, processed 27 billion user messages in one day in June 2013. When Facebook's $19 billion deal was announced, the app had a reported 450 million monthly users exchanging 50 billion messages a day.

Facebook routinely incorporates data from applications it acquires, say the plaintiffs, and when it revamped its messaging system in 2010 it automatically opted all users in.

All this means that people who downloaded and used WhatsApp did so without knowing that their data would one day end up in Facebook's Menlo Park servers.

In fact, the app's data mine may have been a primary asset in the deal.

"Facebook is not only buying a popular messaging app, it is also acquiring the addresses and telephone numbers of 450 million users worldwide," Wim Nauwelaerts, a lawyer specializing in European Union data protection, told Bloomberg News in a quote included in the complaint.

The FTC has grounds to block the acquisition because federal law prohibits unfair and deceptive acts and practices and the commission is empowered to stop those practices, the privacy groups say. Therefore the commission should investigate the acquisition, and its authority to block it until the privacy issues are resolved. But if the deal does process, the FTC should order Facebook to insulate WhatsApp users' information from data collection practices.

Insulate Users

Our requests via e-mail for comment from Facebook and WhatsApp were not answered in time for publication.

However, Julia Horowitz, consumer protection counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told us she was confident the FTC would act because of prior interventions with Google over its Buzz social network, Microsoft over its Passport wallet system, and Facebook over potentially misleading security policies.

"We have a track record of putting claims to the FTC which they decide to investigate," she said Friday.

Horowitz said European privacy monitors were also taking action to protect consumers against possible ramifications of the WhatsApp acquisition.

But in 2014, shouldn't everyone assume that nothing they post online or transmit via the Internet is private?

"There are lots of efforts to allow people to interact with the Internet privately, and WhatsApp was going to be one of them," Horowitz replied. "It's unfair and premature to say it's a foregone conclusion that nothing is private and not in sync with the efforts we see in technology and innovation."

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
TOP STORIES NOW
MAY BE OF INTEREST
Protect 100% of your Data The prevalence of laptops and mobile devices in the enterprise makes corporate data increasingly vulnerable to loss and breach. And yet, workforce productivity is now inextricably linked to mobility. Click here to access the white paper "Top 10 Endpoint Backup Mistakes" to learn more about how to confidently protect data across platforms and devices while also providing features designed to enhance the end user experience.
MORE IN WORLD WIDE WEB
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Dairy Queen Latest Retailer To Report Hack
Known for its hot fries and soft-serve ice cream, Dairy Queen just made cyber history as the latest victim of a hack attack. The fast food chain said that customer data at some stores may be at risk.
 
Lessons from the JPMorgan Chase Cyberattack
JPMorgan Chase is investigating a likely cyberattack. The banking giant is cooperating with law enforcement, including the FBI, to understand what data hackers may have obtained.
 
Who Is the Hacker Group Lizard Squad?
Are they dangerous or just obnoxious? That’s what many are wondering about the hacker group Lizard Squad, which tweeted out a bomb threat that grounded a flight with a Sony exec aboard.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Intel Intros Lightning-Fast PC Processors
Call it extreme. Intel just took the covers off its first-ever eight-core desktop processor, which is aimed at hardcore power users who expect more than the status quo from their computers.
 
HP Previews ProLiant Gen9 Data Center Servers
Because traditional data center and server architectures are “constraints” on businesses, HP is releasing new servers aimed at faster, simpler and more cost-effective delivery of computing services.
 
Apple Set To Release Largest iPad Ever
Tech giant Apple seems to have adopted the mantra “go big or go home.” The company is planning to introduce its largest iPad ever: a 12.9-inch behemoth that will dwarf its largest existing models.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
iWatch Watch: What Will Apple Ask Us To Wear?
There are still more questions than answers when it comes to details about the smart watch Apple seems poised to debut on Sept. 9. In fact, nobody seems completely sure that it will be a smart watch at all.
 
Samsung Maps Its Way with Nokia's 'Here' App for Galaxy Phones
Korean electronics giant Samsung has opted to license Here, Nokia’s mapping app -- formerly known as Nokia Maps -- for its Tizen-powered smart devices and Samsung Gear S wearable.
 
Google Successfully Tests Its Own Delivery Drone
While top technology companies are engaged in an "arms race" to develop drones that can quickly deliver goods to anyone anywhere, Google has revealed it successfully tested its own version.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.