Well that didn’t take long! Just last week I wrote about apps that were trouble just waiting to happen, and this week I come across The Guardians exposé on how popular anonymity app Whisper quietly tracks its users, even those that have opted out of geolocation services.
They write, “Approached for comment last week, Whisper said it “does not follow or track users”. The company added that the suggestion it was monitoring people without their consent, in an apparent breach of its own terms of service, was “not true” and “false”. But on Monday – four days after learning the Guardian intended to publish this story – Whisper rewrote its terms of service; they now explicitly permit the company to establish the broad location of people who have disabled the app’s geolocation feature.”
They also claim that the app secretly track users they believe to be ‘newsworthy’ and then sharing their content with media companies. Co-founder and CEO Michael Heyward had publicly defended his company for posting newsworthy celebrity gossip deeming them to be ‘Public domain’ while still maintaining that his app was to create a more honest and empathetic world.
“While Whisper may provide its users a unique social experience, the allegations in recent media reports are serious, and users are entitled to privacy policies that are transparent, disclosed, and followed by the company,” Rockefeller wrote in his letter.
The fact that the government is actually following up with the allegations made in The Guardian is actually pretty cool. I sure hope that something comes out of this.