Reasons not to use Whatsapp

Reasons not to use Whatsapp

This page is written by Jean Louis, and represents his private opinion.

There are serious reasons why you should not use Whatsapp and why Whatsapp sucks. In the first place it is a proprietary software which means it is executing actions on your phone or computing device for which you have never given your consent. You don't have power and control over your device, but proprietary software is controlling your device, and your information. The Whatsapp application by the plan of their inventors is abusing the information of your friends. I would not be doing that to my friends. That is why I cannot use Whatsapp.

Whatsapp is not a free software. And a free software is even more important now. You should truly find the replacement for your chat software that respects your friends' privacy and safety, even if they don't understand it immediately.

Reason not to use Whatsapp: it is proprietary software

To understand more how proprietary software is controlling you and how you loose the control, read the article on why is free software even more important now. To learn more about free software we recommend you to visit the GNU Operating System website.

Internet references as why not to use Whatsapp application

  1. Why You need to Stop using WhatsApp?

  2. 3 Major Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Whatsapp And an Alternative | Youssef El Akkari – Personal Website

  3. Using WhatsApp for Work? Here are 3 reasons it's NSFW. - Zinc

  4. 25 Reasons Why Whatsapp Is The Worst Thing Ever

  5. Why You Shouldn't Better Use WhatsApp for Business Communication - Beekeeper | Blog

  6. Don’t use WhatsApp to ask for leave or send office work, companies tell staff | business-news | Hindustan Times

Reasons not to use Whatsapp: privacy concerns

  1. A major privacy and security problem has been the subject of a joint Canadian-Dutch government investigation. The primary concern was that WhatsApp required users to upload their mobile phone's entire address book to WhatsApp servers so that WhatsApp could discover who, among the users' contacts, was available via WhatsApp. While this was a fast and convenient way to quickly find and connect the user with contacts who were also using WhatsApp, it meant that their address book was then mirrored on the WhatsApp servers, including contact information for contacts who were not using WhatsApp. This information, which consisted solely of phone numbers without any additional information such as the name of the contact, was stored in hashed, though not salted, form.^21^23

  2. A user does not need to send a friend request to send messages to another user, due to the contact discovery mentioned above.

  3. In November 2014, WhatsApp introduced a feature named Read Receipts which alerts senders when their messages are read by recipients. Within a week, WhatsApp introduced an update allowing users to disable this feature so that message recipients do not send acknowledgements.^25

  4. February 2015, a Dutch university student named Maikel Zweerink published an app that set out to prove that anyone could track a WhatsApp user's status and also keep an eye of their changing profile pictures, privacy settings or status messages regardless of their privacy settings.^26

  5. In August 2016, WhatsApp announced that it will start sharing account information with Facebook, consisting of the phone number of the account owner and aggregated analytical data. The address books and metadata of users are not shared. According to WhatsApp, this account information is shared to "track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them.". This means that Facebook can target advertisements on the Facebook Platform better by making links between users based on the phone numbers, and make "friend suggestions" to its users based on WhatsApp's data. User data will not be shared with advertisers, and is only used internally on the Facebook services. WhatsApp emphasizes the content of user messages is still kept private thanks to its end-to-end encryption, which means WhatsApp cannot read the content of chats.^27 However, users are given the choice to opt-out of sharing this data with Facebook for advertisement purposes.^29 In October 2016, Article 29 Working Party stated that it has serious concerns regarding the manner in which the information relating to the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy was provided to users and consequently about the validity of the users’ consent.^30

Security concerns and reasons not to use Whatsapp

  1. On May 20, 2011, an unconfirmed security researcher from the Netherlands under the pseudonym "WhatsappHack" published, to the Dutch websites Tweakers.net and GeenStijl, a method by which WhatsApp accounts could be hijacked. The researcher noticed a flaw in the authentication process, which allowed the researcher to hijack an account by trying to login with another phone number and intercepting the verification SMS text message that, under specific conditions, remained in the outbox of the Symbian phone after the WhatsApp client would attempt to send it to itself. On Android, the verification message could be obtained through reading the "radio" with a tool named "logcat". The researcher would then copy and send the intercepted verification message to the real number of the phone, using an SMS gateway to spoof the "sender" phone number to the number the researcher tried to maliciously login with. This method worked, and WhatsApp issued a patch within one day after publication of the articles, to both the Android and Symbian clients. WhatsApp did have a security mechanism, by design, which would disable the account on the phone of the original owner of the phone number, when they had a WhatsApp account.^1^3

  2. In May 2011, another security hole was reported which left communication through WhatsApp susceptible to packet analysis. WhatsApp communications were not encrypted, and data was sent and received in plaintext, meaning messages could easily be read if packet traces were available.^4

  3. In May 2012 security researchers noticed that new updates of WhatsApp no longer sent messages as plaintext,^5^7 but the cryptographic method implemented was subsequently described as "broken".^8 In August 2012 the WhatsApp support staff said that messages were encrypted in the "latest version" of the WhatsApp software for iOS and Android (but not BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Symbian), without specifying the cryptographic method.^10

  4. On January 6, 2012, an unknown hacker published a website that made it possible to change the status of an arbitrary WhatsApp user, as long as the phone number was known. To make it work, it only required a restart of the app. According to the hacker, it was only one of many security problems in WhatsApp. On January 9, WhatsApp reported that it had resolved the problem, although the only measure actually taken was to block the website's IP address. As a reaction, a Windows tool was made available for download providing the same functionality. This problem has since been resolved in the form of an IP address check on currently logged-in sessions.^11

  5. German Tech site The H demonstrated how to use WhatsAPI to hijack any WhatsApp account on September 14, 2012.^13 Shortly after, a legal threat to WhatsAPI's developers was alleged, characterized by The H as "an apparent reaction" to security reports, and WhatsAPI's source code was taken down for some days.^14 The WhatsAPI team has since returned to active development.^15

  6. On December 1, 2014, Indrajeet Bhuyan and Saurav Kar, both 17-years old, demonstrated the WhatsApp Message Handler Vulnerability, which allows anyone to remotely crash WhatsApp just by sending a specially crafted message of 2kb in size. To escape the problem, the user who receives the specially crafted message has to delete his/her whole conversation and start a fresh chat, because opening the message keeps on crashing WhatsApp unless the chat is deleted completely.^16 In early 2015, after WhatsApp launched a web client that can be used from the browser, Bhuyan also found that it had two security issues that compromised user privacy: the WhatsApp Photo Privacy Bug and the WhatsApp Web Photo Sync Bug.^17

  7. March 2, 2016, WhatsApp introduced its document-sharing feature, initially allowing users to share PDF files with their contacts.^19 However, WhatsApp's default state of automatically downloading attachments raised some concerns in the press about risk and security once support for document sharing expanded beyond PDF files.^20

Free software for chat, video and speech

We recommend you to find and test the free software for chat video and speech through network:

  1. F-Droid is a repository of free software for the Android. Once you have downloaded the F-Droid application, refresh it, and you will get access to free software.

  2. AiCiA is free software Internet Relay Chat client. IRC or Internet Relay Chat have existed long before Whatsapp. You can use those networks to chat with people without endangering your privacy and safety, and without anyone abusing your contacts and the address book.

  3. Atomic is yet another Internet Relay Chat client, that you may use to chat with your friends.

  4. Conversations is an XMPP chat client that you may use to chat all over the world.

  5. There is a whole list of free chat and voice software on F-Droid that you may use to communicate safely with your friends.

  6. There is tox.chat and many software clients, for computer and Android, that you may use to communicate safely with your friends all over the world.

  7. There is Prosody XMPP server that you may install yourself, so that you may communicate with your friends nicely, safely, and without dangers to privacy.

  8. You may install your own GNU Social network and exchange your images, text, and private messages with network or private friends, without necessity to give the information of your friends and family to proprietary and evil networks such as Facebook or Whatsapp.

  9. There is Ring, a GNU Project that allows you to have voice chat, private chat and video with your friends.

  10. There is Riot.im the free free software instant messenger that you may use to communicate safely with your friends and family.

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