Whisper, one of the most popular apps these days is found to be on wrong side when it was tested for its slogan’s reality. Whisper is being marketed through a very attractive slogan (“the safest place on the internet”) the reality, however, is far from it.
According to the research conducted by the Guardian the app seems to be tracing its user’s locations even at the time when the user has turned-off the location tracking, app continues tracking down user’s location. When the application’s geological services are fully turned off the user is traced down roughly from the data left over by the smartphone’s IP address.
App’s real popularity comes through its feature of sharing pictures with a short text over it. Some 2.6 million messages are shared daily by the whisper’s users. Facebook is also in process of developing a similar app but it is yet to be launched.
During previous week, Whisper’s official denied all the allegations and remained affirmative on the statement they made in the slogan but this week they themselves revised their terms and conditions and included the clause for tracking down user’s location real time. A 3-day experiment of whisper by the Guardian revealed following facts regarding the app:
“User data, including Whisper postings that users believe they have deleted, is collated in a searchable database. The company has no access to users’ names or phone numbers, but is storing information about the precise time and approximate location of all previous messages posted through the app. The data, which stretches back to the app’s launch in 2012, is being stored indefinitely, a practice seemingly at odds with Whisper’s stated policy of holding the data only for “a brief period of time”.
A team headed by Whisper’s editor-in-chief, Neetzan Zimmerman, is closely monitoring users it believes are potentially newsworthy, delving into the history of their activity on the app and tracking their movements through the mapping tool. Among the many users currently being targeted are military personnel and individuals claiming to work at Yahoo, Disney and on Capitol Hill.
Whisper’s policy toward sharing user data with law enforcement has prompted it on occasions to provide information to both the FBI and MI5. Both cases involved potentially imminent threats to life, Whisper said, a practice standard in the tech industry. But privacy experts who reviewed Whisper’s terms of service for the Guardian said the company appeared to require a lower legal threshold for providing user information to authorities than other tech companies.
The company is cooperating with the US Department of Defense, sharing information with researchers investigating the frequency of mentions of suicide or self-harm from smartphones that Whisper knows are being used from US military bases. Whisper stressed that “specific user data” is not being shared with the DoD, adding that the company was “proudly working with many organizations to lower suicide rates and the US military is among them”.
Whisper is developing a Chinese version of its app, which received a soft-launch earlier this month. Companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are banned in mainland China. Whisper executives said they had agreed to the demands China places on tech companies operating in its jurisdiction, including a ban on the use of certain words.
Whisper’s targeted monitoring of some people who use the app – even some of those who have declared they do not want to be followed by opting out of geolocation – is likely to surprise its users, who are drawn to the app by the bold promises the company makes about their anonymity.
“Whisper isn’t actually about concealing identity. It’s about a complete absence of identity,” the company’s co-founder and CEO, Michael Heyward, recently told Entrepreneur magazine. “The concept around Whisper is removing the concept of identity altogether, so you’re not as guarded.”
Whisper has also joint hands with buzzfeeds and other platform. Their main focus currently is on developing Chinese version of the app due to a significant market gap in the market of such app within the economy. Facebook, twitter and all such platforms are banned in the economy so whisper is been in the talks with the Chinese official to develop a version which is suitable for the Chinese economy.
Documents used in this article:
The post Here is How Whisper app Tracks ‘Anonymous’ Users appeared first on Hack Read.