WhatsApp comes under fire for violating international number privacy laws

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Uh oh. WhatsApp, the must-have app for smartphone owners everywhere, is in trouble because it apparently contravenes international piracy laws.

Canadian and Dutch data protection authorities, reports Reuters, take issue with the fact that WhatsApp requires users to make their whole address book available.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Dutch Data Protection Authority, released a joint statement yesterday saying that the highly popular app’s transgression comes particularly from the fact that even the phone numbers of people not using the service were exposed.

“This lack of choice contravenes (Canadian and Dutch) privacy law. Both users and non-users should have control over their personal data and users must be able to freely decide what contact details they wish to share with WhatsApp,” said Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch Data Protection Authority.

Both agencies say they will continue to monitor WhatsApp and could impose penalties on it if they thought it was still breaching people’s privacy.

The SMS killer has taken a number of steps to ensure the privacy of its users isn’t compromised. In September 2012, for instance, it introduced encryption partly in response to the investigation by the Canadian and Dutch agencies.

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