Author Topic: WhatsApp???  (Read 1850 times)

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Offline daniel1948

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WhatsApp???
« on: September 11, 2018, 04:59:05 PM »
I gather that WhatsApp is a smartphone app that lets you send and receive messages on your phone when it's connected to wi-fi but not cell service. The place I'm going in a few days wants me to install WhatsApp so they can send me messages if need be. They don't want to send emails. They say that's too much bother. (Have to open their laptop for that.) And they don't want me to stop by their office each morning to check for possible messages because they're "Not prepared for visitors."

I'm reluctant to install WhatsApp because I'm pretty much paranoid about any software that somebody else wants me to install, as opposed to software that I want because it does something I want to do. Plus, I hate Facebook. I think Facebook is the second-most-evil internet company in the world, after Microsoft.

So, what do folks think? Am I being ridiculous, or is it reasonable of me not to want to put this thing on my phone? And will it even work if I deny it access to my private information? Can I even deny it access?

A semi-related issue is that for $70 I could get limited cell service for the month while I'm there. I think I'd get 100 talk minutes and enough data to load a few web pages a day. But I'll have wi-fi so won't need data for the phone. Not sure I need or want cell service while I'm on vacation.
Daniel
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2018, 05:08:25 PM »
You're being ridiculous and paranoid lol.

WhatsApp is the messaging app paranoid people use (and also the people that "they" really are out to get).  It's locked up so tight that oppressive governments can't crack the message logs of captured insurgents.

The personal information it needs are equal to or less than what any messaging app needs, including the default texting app.  It looks bad when you are told in a big popup that the app "needs access to your photos", for instance, but this is not because it will independently look at or transmit your photos, but rather because if you choose to send a photo the app needs access to the folder the photo is in, in a purely mechanical sense.  The default texting app has that same access to your photos, and uses it in the same way.
Big Mike
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2018, 05:19:32 PM »
You're being ridiculous and paranoid lol.

WhatsApp is the messaging app paranoid people use (and also the people that "they" really are out to get).  It's locked up so tight that oppressive governments can't crack the message logs of captured insurgents.

The personal information it needs are equal to or less than what any messaging app needs, including the default texting app.  It looks bad when you are told in a big popup that the app "needs access to your photos", for instance, but this is not because it will independently look at or transmit your photos, but rather because if you choose to send a photo the app needs access to the folder the photo is in, in a purely mechanical sense.  The default texting app has that same access to your photos, and uses it in the same way.

Do I have to give Facebook access to my phone's phone book to use the app?

And FWIW, I don't use any messaging app at present. Email and texting is good enough "messaging" for me.

One thing I absolutely hate about Facebook is the way they sell your personal information, or use it to push ads at you, or use it for more nefarious ends. I'm disinclined to get the app just because I don't want Facebook to make money off of my use of it.
Daniel
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2018, 05:53:58 PM »
Do I have to give Facebook access to my phone's phone book to use the app?

Depends on what you mean by "Facebook" and "access".  You have to give "WhatsApp" access to your photos and contacts list and device storage.  There is no agreement that they own or can look at any part of what's stored in those places - it's just mechanical access to the folders these things are stored in, not free access to use or take the contents for their own purposes.  The reason they need access is not to operate independently, or scan your photos to glean information from them.  It is so that if you decide to send a photo to a person on your contacts list, the app is allowed to open your gallery and your contact list and make that connection.

And FWIW, I don't use any messaging app at present. Email and texting is good enough "messaging" for me.

WhatsApp needs the same access for the same reason as your built-in text messaging app.  If your phone didn't come with a default one built in, and you tried to install the app you are currently using, it would popup to prompt you for pretty much the exact same access - it's mechanical access to the folders, so that you can then use the contents of those folders yourself.

One thing I absolutely hate about Facebook is the way they sell your personal information, or use it to push ads at you, or use it for more nefarious ends. I'm disinclined to get the app just because I don't want Facebook to make money off of my use of it.

For the Facebook app in particular, there is a user agreement that lets them use your personal information for their own nefarious advertising purposes (I accept this for myself and consider it to be the fee they charge for me to use the otherwise free app).  This is UNRELATED to the popup window asking you to give the app access to your photos/contacts/storage/etc.

As far as I know, this is not part of WhatsApp.  To date, there has been no advertising in my use of WhatsApp. Maybe within the voice/video portions I don't use there are ads or something?  I don't actually understand the business model of WhatsApp - I know that by using a free app, I am the product.  I just haven't yet fathomed how I'm being sold.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 05:56:07 PM by amysrevenge »
Big Mike
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2018, 05:58:57 PM »
I should add - however it is that you currently do texting, it is indeed via a messaging app.  It's just (most likely) the built-in one that came pre-installed on your phone.  Apple guy, right?  Whatever the default Apple messaging app is.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2018, 06:21:07 PM »
I always assumed that when I send or receive texts they go through Verizon, my cell carrier.

I guess the issue for me here is that I use the phone and texting because I want to use them. I'm being asked to install a whole new and different app, from a company I don't like, because somebody else wants me to use it.

There will be a dozen or so people all at the same resort, going on the same boat, and the operator did say she would see if one of them would be willing to pass any messages on to me. So it should work out. After all, if someone wanted to do this trip who didn't have a smartphone, they would not turn them away. People just assume nowadays that everyone has a smartphone and is on Facebook and WhatsApp and Skype and LinkedIn and all the rest of that stuff. I didn't even have a smartphone until two years ago!

Anyway, thanks for the run-down on WhatsApp. I don't think I'm going to get it.
Daniel
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2018, 06:28:03 PM »
I always assumed that when I send or receive texts they go through Verizon, my cell carrier.

Yeah, it's your messaging app that handles the connection between your phone and Verizon.  It provides Verizon with recipient information, content, attachments, and sender information (for which it needs access to that information on your phone).  Verizon handles the transport between your phone and your friend's phone, and then your friend's app does the same but in reverse at their end.

But I can't imagine that your specific case will be harmed by avoiding it.  Like you said, it's not like they would tell someone without that exact form of contact to f off and keep their money.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 06:30:29 PM by amysrevenge »
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2018, 06:57:25 PM »
Anyway, thanks for the run-down on WhatsApp. I don't think I'm going to get it.

While it is entirely your choice, I personally think that you're being irrational. WhatsApp is a safe and convenient alternative to more intrusive apps like Facebook. Millions of people use it (I happen not to because it is redundant for my needs), and though it happens to be owned by Facebook, it is an entirely separate product with a completely different set of user agreements. There's absolutely no reason not to use it, especially if it is recommended by a provider of a service that you are using anyway. You can always delete it afterwards if you don't find it useful.

All that said, if you don't want to install it, then of course you shouldn't install it. You have the right to not use the product for any reason or for no reason. Your service provider ought to be able to provide alternatives.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 08:00:52 PM »
I always assumed that when I send or receive texts they go through Verizon, my cell carrier.

Yeah, it's your messaging app that handles the connection between your phone and Verizon.  It provides Verizon with recipient information, content, attachments, and sender information (for which it needs access to that information on your phone).  Verizon handles the transport between your phone and your friend's phone, and then your friend's app does the same but in reverse at their end.

But I can't imagine that your specific case will be harmed by avoiding it.  Like you said, it's not like they would tell someone without that exact form of contact to f off and keep their money.


I guess I decided to trust Apple and iOS when I bought the phone. I consider third-party apps on an individual bases: Does it do something I want/need, and if so am I willing to trust it? But it has to be something I want. Google Maps, to take a random example, may be screwing me over for all I know, but I decided to trust it because it gives me something that is of value to me. When a tour operator says "We want you to install WhatsApp because we're too lazy to send you an email," the app is not providing anything for me. I'm paying a lot of money for the tour. I rebel at being told I need to install their preferred messaging app. Which also means keeping my phone on to use it.

Fortunately, the tour operator is being reasonable and not insisting. I get to leave my phone turned off while I'm there.

I expect this trip to be a lot of fun, BTW. For two weeks I'll be swimming with humpback whales, and when the captain feels the whale will not be spooked by it, I'll be able to freedive with them.
Daniel
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 10:11:04 PM »
What’sapp is used by most reporters when traveling. Especially internationally.

Not just for simple messages but for filing audio video photos and graphics.

By making you install it they’re doing you a favor.

It’s for your own good.


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Offline daniel1948

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2018, 08:41:55 AM »
What’sapp is used by most reporters when traveling. Especially internationally.

Not just for simple messages but for filing audio video photos and graphics.

By making you install it they’re doing you a favor.

It’s for your own good.

No, if they made me install it they would be doing Facebook a favor, because FB makes money from its use. I have no use for it and I don't like the intrusiveness of messaging apps. And fortunately, they are being reasonable and not making me install it. They asked me to use it, gave some bad reasons, and then agreed that since my phone won't work there it will not be necessary.

And I'm not a reporter, so I don't see how it's relevant that "most" reporters use it.
Daniel
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Offline Guillermo

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2018, 09:35:41 AM »
I see no harm in not getting the app.

However, the advantages of the app is that it is better encrypted than many things, and tied to your phone number and can only be used on one device at any time (You can use a web app for messaging, but that is controlled by the main device and is encrypted).

Another benefit that I find useful is that it brought me closer to a lot more people and friends and acquaintances than any other means. Given my introvert/ dislikes to call others nature. It has kept me in touch with people.

it does fall prey to annoying chain messages and misinformation and other memes. But lots of friends send me funny memes and porn through it, so that's OK.
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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2018, 10:26:37 AM »
Do I have to give Facebook access to my phone's phone book to use the app?

Be aware that if you allow WA to access your contact it will upload them all to it's servers to check if any of your contacts are already with WhatsApp. I.e. the app will the tell you immediately who you can contact on WA without you having to search for them. As far as I know your contacts that are with WA will also learn that you just joined.

The last I heard WA has not officially declared what they do with those contact info they get from you that is of people not with WA. Whether they store it or get rid of it.
(This is now illegal in Europe btw and in theory if you have European people in your contact list and indirectly give them to WA without their explicit permission, you are breaking European law. Not that it's very likely this could be enforced in any way.)

As to ads: the original founders had made it one of their conditions when the sold to FB that the system would stay ad-free. The last of the founder left FB recently over disagreements of the direction of WA and ads was one of the contentious points.
https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/30/17304792/whatsapp-jan-koum-facebook-data-privacy-encryption

Ha. I just read in that article that Marc Zuckerberg wrote
"I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, and for everything you’ve taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”"

And that from a guys who has build one of the biggest centralised systems on the planet.

I am with Daniel in that I would fob off anybody trying to force me to use a proprietary, closed system.

D.


Offline daniel1948

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2018, 10:46:55 AM »
Do I have to give Facebook access to my phone's phone book to use the app?

Be aware that if you allow WA to access your contact it will upload them all to it's servers to check if any of your contacts are already with WhatsApp. I.e. the app will the tell you immediately who you can contact on WA without you having to search for them. As far as I know your contacts that are with WA will also learn that you just joined.

The last I heard WA has not officially declared what they do with those contact info they get from you that is of people not with WA. Whether they store it or get rid of it.
(This is now illegal in Europe btw and in theory if you have European people in your contact list and indirectly give them to WA without their explicit permission, you are breaking European law. Not that it's very likely this could be enforced in any way.)

As to ads: the original founders had made it one of their conditions when the sold to FB that the system would stay ad-free. The last of the founder left FB recently over disagreements of the direction of WA and ads was one of the contentious points.
https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/30/17304792/whatsapp-jan-koum-facebook-data-privacy-encryption

Ha. I just read in that article that Marc Zuckerberg wrote
"I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, and for everything you’ve taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”"

And that from a guys who has build one of the biggest centralised systems on the planet.

I am with Daniel in that I would fob off anybody trying to force me to use a proprietary, closed system.

D.



Thanks. That's basically what I wanted to know: WhatsApp will take all my phone contacts and use the information in ways I would not like. There are names and numbers in my phone book that are not friends. There are companies I may have called once or a few times and put them in the book so that if they call me I know who's calling. I do not want them informed that I now have WhatsApp. There are friends who I don't want pestered because now WA has their number from my phone book.

I occasionally get emails from LinkedIn saying "So and so wants to connect with you on LinkedIn..." and I know that if those people wanted to connect with me they'd email me themselves. Since I'm not in LinkedIn, the only way LinkedIn could have gotten my email is by harvesting contacts from those people when they joined. I think this is a slimy practice.

When I read that WA is owned by Facebook it sent up a red flag for me. This confirms that, consistent with Facebook's general practices, WA would not respect my privacy. And there's this:

Maybe giving them access to my phone book will allow them to make it a little easier for me to message people "without having to search for them." But shouldn't that be my choice? If I want to keep my contacts private and spend a little more time searching for a contact, I should have that right. Demanding access to my contacts as a condition of using the app stinks of bad faith policies. As for photos, the app doesn't need that access unless I want to send a photo. Demanding that also stinks.

I get it that for some folks the app is useful and is worth giving them access to that information. For me it's not and it isn't.
Daniel
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-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline CarbShark

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Re: WhatsApp???
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2018, 11:03:57 AM »

And I'm not a reporter, so I don't see how it's relevant that "most" reporters use it.

A group of educated professionals who need  a secure, reliable and flexible communication system to be able to do their jobs in whatever the local access conditions are.

If that’s not relevant to your needs then fine.

(Also, I believe your are given a choice of letting WhatsApp access your contacts or not. And have the option of importing individually  as needed or just using WA contacts list.).   


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