A joint investigation by Dutch and Canadian authorities found that WhatsApp does violate privacy rules by requiring users to grant full access to their address book.
WhatsApp, which was reported last month as an app Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) was interested in acquiring, breaches privacy rules in the Netherlands and Canada, according to an investigation conducted jointly by Canadian and Dutch officials. CBC reports that the app violates privacy laws in the two countries because it requires users to give access to their full address book if they want to use it.
A statement issued by the Dutch Data Protection Authority said users’ address books contain phone numbers of people who don’t use the app, in addition to those who do. So by requiring them to give the app access to their entire address book, it violates privacy rules. WhatsApp has now made it possible for iPhone users with iOS6 to add their contacts manually instead of granting access to their entire address book, Nokia, Windows, Android and BlackBerry users still have to the app full access.
The app’s makers have said they will fix the issue, but they did not say when. WhatsApp is a smartphone all that allows users all over the globe to text each other without incurring texting fees. It sells for 99 cents on the iTunes store, and it’s the third most popular paid app there. The BlackBerry and Android apps are free up front, although users are charged a 99 cent subscription fee each year after the first year of use.
The investigation into WhatsApp has been going on for a full year now. In addition to the main issue in investigation, officials also found other problems, which the app maker has resolved. They found that the messages were not encrypted, but that problem was fixed in September. The investigation found problems with password security, but that issue was resulted in the app’s latest update.