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WhatsApp's contact collection practices violate Dutch and Canadian privacy laws

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whatsapp (stock 1020)
whatsapp (stock 1020)

Popular messaging platform WhatsApp is in violation of Dutch and Canadian privacy laws because it forces users to provide their entire address book, according to a new report from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Dutch Data Protection Authority. The app's practice of collecting the phone numbers of non-users from its customer's address books violates the privacy laws of both countries, which state that such information can only be held if it will be used for a stated purpose.

"Both users and non-users should have control over their personal data and users must be able to freely decide what contact details they wish to share with WhatsApp," said Dutch Data Protection Authority chairman Jacob Kohnstamm. WhatsApp has worked swiftly to fix privacy and security issues with its app in the past, but has not yet commented on this new report.