Anonymous Sharing App Whisper Facing Congressional Questioning

Image Courtesy of Slashgear

Popular anonymous secret sharing app Whisper might not be quite as secret as they’ve been letting on.  In a recent post on The Guardian, it was revealed that Whisper may be revealing information about their users – a claim that Whisper CEO Michael Heyward refutes as misguided, if not completely false.  Now, since there are clearly no more pressing matters to attend to, the United States Senate is getting involved.

On October 22nd, Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller (D, West Virginia), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, penned a letter to Heyward asking for some clarification. Since Whisper claims itself to be the “safest place on the Internet,” (a point that the Senator references several times in his letter) Senator Rockefeller was hoping for a more in-depth review of Whisper’s practices with user data.

Senator Rockefeller’s most notable concerns are:

  • Whisper’s alleged tracking of users that have opted out of geolocation
  • Whisper’s alleged office in the Philippines set up to review user data
  • Whisper’s reported relationships with media outlets whom are given access to Whisper user content

Senator Rockefeller references Mr. Heyward’s blog post, and the responses that he provided, however to fully put this matter to bed, he’s still requested that Mr. Heyward take part in a Committee staff briefing from Whisper.  The terms and requests for this briefing were very specific:

1. Whether and how WhisperText tracks or has tracked the location of its users who have opted out of geolocation services, and if it has, how does it or has it used that information;

2. The extent to which WhisperText retains user data and the location(s) where user data is processed and retained;

3. WhisperText’s practices regarding sharing user data with third parties, including when and how those practices have changed over time; and

4. WhisperText’s practices regarding notifying users about its privacy and data security policies related to user data, including any changes to those policies.

It is tempting to share your deepest, darkest secrets when a company claims they’ve got your privacy in mind, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not Whisper is truly the private safe haven they claim to be.  To avoid any potential messy privacy issues, my use of Whisper has been for stupid pictures/ideas only.  No secrets, just stupidity.

Do you use Whisper?  Do you trust them with your most secret thoughts and desires?  Let us know in the comments (not your secrets, just that you use and/or trust Whisper) or on your favorite social network.

  Source: PCWorld
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