WhatsApp: Brian Acton and Jan Koum say they are still committed to users’ privacy

Users privacyAfter all the criticism that followed the recent decision to start sharing some data with Facebook, WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum have once again explained their point of view during the last Wall Street Journal Tech Conference. This last WSJDLive was held this week in Laguna Beach (California), and, along with WhatsApp founders, many tech leaders and lumimaries were invited.

During the Conference Brian Acton and Jan Koum reassured their many users that WhatsApp remains committed to their privacy, saying that “We try to be really thoughtful so that users are happy about the changes,”. If the introduction of end-to-end encryption for messages was generally appreciated by users, the change in WhatsApp’s terms of service and privacy policy (the first in four years) generated a lot of criticism.

But Jan Koum has pointed out that WhatsApp has never collected personal data of its users, and that Facebook won’t be able to obtain data that users themselves don’t want to be shared: “We never asked our users for their names, for their genders, for their age or where they live, so it’s not like sitting on the wealth of information,”. Furthermore, Brian Acton said that the decision to update the terms of service was taken in order to take advantage of Facebook’s technology (in particular its spam-detection system), adding that the previous terms of service of WhatsApp were “somewhat woefully out of date,”.

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Now that the service is completely free (and without adverts or spam), many users wonder how WhatsApp manages to make money. That move is part of a more articulate plane to generate revenue. And enabling business-to-consumer communication is another essential part of the strategy. On the matter Brian Acton said: “There was pent up demand. It meant we really needed to build this,” adding that the Company is just “at the beginning of this,” and that 2017 is the yearwhen will really go deep.” We know that WhatsApp is one of the most successful instant messaging app, and that now the service already has more than 1 billion users. But Acton and Koum won’t stop, since they would like to reach 2 billion users.

If despite these reassurances many users are still puzzled, a recent research done by Amnesty International shows that WhatsApp is the most secure messaging app, followed by iMessage, FaceTime and Telegram. According to the study carried out by Amnesty, Skype ends up to be one of the worst.

That’s the explanation given by the organization: “Skype has been a major target of government surveillance worldwide. Despite Microsoft’s strong policy commitment to human rights, it is still using a weak form of encryption on Skype.” adding also that “Facebook is doing the most to use encryption to respond to human rights threats, and is most transparent about the action it’s taking. WhatsApp is the only app where users are explicitly warned when end-to-end encryption is not applied to a particular chat, but Messenger does not apply end-to-end encryption as a default, and does not warn users that regular conversations use a weaker form of encryption.

WhatsApp: Brian Acton and Jan Koum say they are still committed to users’ privacy 4.20/5 (84.00%) 5 votes

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