WhatsApp users “might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of,” WhatsApp wrote on a blog post Thursday.
Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney on the digital civil liberties team at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said the new policy “was not thought through very well.” Speaking with SCMagazine.com on Thursday, he said users would not want their WhatsApp information to be associated with their Facebook account in several scenarios.
When users rely on WhatsApp to connect with mental health professionals, “I do not necessarily want my therapist to show up as a suggested friend on Facebook,” he told SCMagazine.com. Democracy activists in the Middle East or LGBT activists in Russia face more serious threats as a result of the privacy changes, he added.
“Privacy has become a primary consideration in major corporate acquisitions and restructurings,” Omer Tene, VP of research and education, International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), wrote in an email to SCMagazine.com on Thursday. “Companies now realize the importance of implementing sound data governance and privacy by design from the earliest stages, to secure future growth and potential acquisitions.”
Cardozo told SCMagazine.com that he appreciates the option that allows WhatsApp users to opt-out of sharing their information with Facebook, but called the opt-out process “confusing.”
“It is also not clear that new users will be able to opt-out,” Cardozo said. “If that is the case, then that is extremely disappointing.”