WhatsApp CEO defends company's privacy rules in wake of Facebook purchase

WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum went on the offensive today to address concerns that the messaging app's upcoming acquisition by Facebook will lead to its users losing their privacy. In a blog post, Koum said, "Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change. Our principles will not change."

Non-profit privacy groups have already sent requests to the Federal Trade Commission asking that the agency block the $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook, claiming that the privacy of the app's many users would be at risk under the ownership of Facebook. However, Koum's blog post said nothing could be further from the truth.

He stated that growing up as part of the Soviet Union in the 1980s, there was always a fear that the KGB was monitoring phone conversations. That experience helped to form the privacy rules that WhatsApp adopted. Koum said:

You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address. We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address. We don’t know where you work. We don’t know your likes, what you search for on the internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.

Koum said that if the company felt that they would have to compromise those values by being purchased by Facebook, the deal would have never been made. He added, "Speculation to the contrary isn’t just baseless and unfounded, it’s irresponsible."

Source: WhatsApp | Socia Media image via Shutterstock

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It still amazes me how generations that grew up on things like Star Treck that introduced to many or simply reinforced the idea that man inherently craves freedom, no matter how fancy or full of wonders gifts a prison (prison planet even) may be, still often don't associate that with the digital world.

A digital panopticon is still a panopticon.

"You don't have to give us your name and we don't ask for your email address. We don't know your birthday. We don't know your home address. We don't know where you work. We don't know your likes, what you search for on the internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that."


some data is missing... what about the messages? do you read them? share them with CIA, NSA, FBI... ha?


Oz. said,
some data is missing... what about the messages? do you read them? share them with CIA, NSA, FBI... ha?

Do you think they, the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. really care what YOU or I talk about in the messages?

riahc3 said,

Do you think they, the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. really care what YOU or I talk about in the messages?

Probably not, but it all depends on what the messages contain.

einsteinbqat said,

Probably not, but it all depends on what the messages contain.


I don't think YOU or I are terrorist or anything.

If we are and the message contains that sort of information, Im glad they read those messages then.

riahc3 said,

I don't think YOU or I are terrorist or anything.

If we are and the message contains that sort of information, Im glad they read those messages then.

It doesn't have to be terrorist acts or anything of that sort. It could be messages against the government that could land you in prison, i.e. China.

Mr.XXIV said,
You all go crazy over "privacy" when you're not even important. Honestly. Just use the app and have fun.

Some Average Joes go mad about this. Me? Feel free to read my messages if you want, bro. Nothing that important there anyway

Mr.XXIV said,
You all go crazy over "privacy" when you're not even important. Honestly. Just use the app and have fun.

It's more true than some might think.

The deeper you get into a discussion about the importance of privacy, the more likely it ultimately all comes down to oppressed people needing a way to have a voice without fear of tyranny.

In other words, a scenario far more interesting than what their life actually is.

Truth is, privacy doesn't "protect" freedom. It's a workaround. When you aren't free, you rely on privacy. If you have the freedoms you need, what's the point of privacy after all? Privacy is just an illusion of freedom.

Shadowzz said,
yeah sure, facebook thows down 19billion USD just for a sms alternative?

They bought the users. The service is secondary.

Non-profit privacy groups have already sent requests to the Federal Trade Commission asking that the agency block the $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook, claiming that the privacy of the app's many users would be at risk under the ownership of Facebook.

Meanwhile, profit stock holders, don't send any requests...