WhatsApp Subject of Privacy Investigation

The popular smartphone instant messaging app WhatsApp has been the subject of a joint Dutch-Canadian probe into breaches of the privacy laws of both countries.

Sophos’ Naked Security reports that this is the first time two countries have worked together to investigate privacy breaches. Linked from the article is the Canadian report from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

There are a number of allegations in the report, notably that WhatsApp uploaded full contact lists without allowing end users to select which contacts they wanted to share, retained information about those contacts even if they did not use WhatsApp themselves, and failed to inform users that their own status would be made available to all of their contacts who were users of WhatsApp.

WhatsApp appears to be working toward fixing the problems identified in the report. It has released an update for the iOS version of the app to allow selective uploading of contacts, and plans to roll out updates for all other versions as well.

RIM’s Blackberry Service Suffers Another Outage

Blackberry users in the UK and Ireland experienced an outage that lasted through the morning on Friday, in another blow to RIM’s reputation.

The Independent reports that the service was back up by lunchtime, but any outage is bad news for RIM’s already shaky reputation. A number of system problems over recent years have weakened the confidence of its customers and caused some to jump ship to other mobile devices such as Apple’s iPhone or one of the many smartphones running Google’s Android operating system.