I know what you did last summer… yours sincerely Whatsapp,T-mobile and friends


We are chatting, texting, sharing and posting…every day. Recently, I recognized a change in certain “Everyday-Apps”. After sending messages via Facebook or whatsapp I could see whether my conversation partner  saw my message or not. I could even see when he or she was online for the last time.

A spy function? How come? And by the way, what happens with all the data?

While searching for answers on these questions, I found out

about another interesting fact:

According to “die Welt” the end of the SMS is near. After 20 years of confidential service, messaging applications like “Whatsapp” and Networks like “Facebook” replace our good old SMS. “Die Welt” underlines what I recognized in my personal life the last weeks. No one is responding on my SMS, everyone responds on Whatsapp.

HELP, Am I the only one still writing SMS?

As stated by “teletarif.de” big telecommunication companies like T-mobile already recorded less transaction volume, due to the fact that SMS demand decreased. Is the SMS dying out?

What makes Whatsapp such a good alternative to SMS?

Whatsapp makes the exchange of short messages, pictures and videos possible, without ads and without a high fee (there will be a fee of 0,99$ per year after a use of one year). Brian Acton ans Jan Koum, founders of the “whatsapp” application state on their blog that:

Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product.

At WhatsApp, our engineers spend all their time fixing bugs, adding new features and ironing out all the little intricacies in our task of bringing rich, affordable, reliable messaging to every phone in the world. That’s our product and that’s our passion. Your data isn’t even in the picture. We are simply not interested in any of it.

This sounds just great! As there is REALLY no advertisement on whatsapp, these entrepreneurs are very convincing…

But lets have a look on some other, neutral sources…

With respect to the report of “computerbild” and “heiser security” Whatsapp has a big security problem, sniffing and hacking into the conversations is easy, especially when the users are using the same LAN.

The CEO’s response regarding these accusations?  None.

ZDF heute looks at the problem in a different light. The insecurity would not only affect individuals, but the whole economy. Economic espionage will become easier and a profitable tool for criminal gangs and even governments. Todays business men and women would have more company intern information on their smartphones than in their dispatch cases.

Blogger Klaus Düll mentions on his “pretiosio-blogvarious alternatives. User can either switch to other, more reliable applications, tested by “Computerbild” or

become member of protest groups, which strictly boycott those kinds of applications and social networks. Its your choice.

Malte Spitz tried another way of drawing the worlds attention on the mobile phone sector and its insecurity. Watch his talk on ted.com to learn more about his experiment.

Together with “zeitonline” he visualized his project. Click here to follow  Malte Spitz 6 month travelling for example from Berlin to Frankfurt and back and see who he called in that time…

We definitely know now that our data is stored…we can either accept and ignore it or try to fight for our privacy rights.

What do you think, is there a chance to win this fight?


3 thoughts on “I know what you did last summer… yours sincerely Whatsapp,T-mobile and friends

  1. Hey Julia,
    your headline is amazing. When reading it I really want to read more!! I like the work how you combined your personal view with professional ones like in your paragraph when you wrote about “die Welt” and then reflecting what this has to do with your view.
    You also showed me that you followed the literature review by giving a broad overview about many opinions from different perspectives. Since I am using WhatsApp and actually never cared about security I was so shocked when I read an article from http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/apps/sicherheit-app-tester-warnen-vor-whatsapp-alternative-hike-a-872033.html. I think all of us have to think twice about what technology we should use and which problems might come along with it.
    Therefore I really appreciate your last sentence which is a motivation for all readers to make their own opinion about this topic and actually do some research about it. This gives me the impression that nothing is hopeless and that it will remain interesting how the future in this field will develop.
    Just the advice to structure your paragraph better at some points because some of them look a bit weird since sentences are separated in between. But maybe this was the guilt of wordpress.

  2. Dear jula912,

    I think not there is no way to really protect our-self in 2012 from infomration, just listen to what Mark Zuckerberg said about a year ago: “Privacy is no longer a ‘social norm’ “. What do you think?


    I liked the fact you actually picked a ‘hot’ topic, a new technology that everyone is using in the everyday life, which we actually don’t know that much about. Another thing I liked was that you used so many different sources in your blog, giving us the readers so many different opinions.

    Couple of interesting questions that popped in my head while reading your post:
    How does Whatsapp make money?
    Do free programs, like Skype or Viber, take parts of the phone companies? Will it change in future, like how Whatsapp changed the whole market?


  3. Hey Itai! So I really dont agree with Mark Zuckerberg. I think its possible having a private life, even in 2012! Of course, if you want to or not, you already share a lot of indormation via facebook, and thats ok because you can influence what pictures you upload and whether you show your real name or not. But the thing with Whatsapp is that random people, if they wanted to, can read your messages.
    Whats app finances itself now through its user, it uses the free-ware standart to get popular and then they start to transform in a to-pay- application. This is a common business model, do you know spotify? They did it in a similar way.

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