Blackberry, VoxSmart partner to enable banks to monitor WhatsApp chats

 

To enable financial institutions to monitor data on WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging platforms in line with the upcoming European Union (EU) directive, BlackBerry has partnered with the leading mobile surveillance and compliance firm VoxSmart.

Together with BlackBerry UEM (Unified Endpoint Management), which connects and manages endpoints, VoxSmart’s ‘VSmart’ will provide financial services firms with the ability to capture, record, store and analyse mobile voice, text and third-party instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp and WeChat.

“Together with VoxSmart, we can enable businesses around the world to effortlessly capture conversations on endpoints including smartphones, wearables, tablets and laptops,” said Florian Bienvenu, Senior Vice President of EMEA Sales, BlackBerry.

“This joint solution is an excellent example of how BlackBerry is leveraging its software portfolio and developing strong partnerships to secure the Enterprise of Things,” Bienvenu added in a statement.

The companies have partnered to help financial services firms comply on time with the European Union’s “Markets in Financial Instruments Directive” (‘MiFID II’).

MiFID II, which comes into effect on January 3, 2018, demands that all financial services firms in Europe must keep records of all services, activities and transactions for at least five years.Image result for WhatsApp extends Nokia S40, BlackBerry support till end of 2017, drops Symbian support

Records include all electronic and instant messaging communications, telephone conversations and text messages related to or intended to conclude in a transaction, even if one does not occur.

The directive seeks to make financial markets in Europe more resilient, transparent and investor-friendly.

“VoxSmart is the only global mobile compliance solution that can capture, record, store and analyse both voice and third party instant message applications such as WhatsApp and WeChat,” said Oliver Blower, CEO, VoxSmart.

“Our partnership with BlackBerry has already led to additional proofs of concept exercises from other global investment banks and financial services firms, who are seeing the MiFID II Directive as a chance to refine their approach to mobile security and compliance,” Blower added.

Already successfully deployed to several global investment banks and trading houses, VSmart provides a perfect balance between user experience and compliance, securing and enabling regulated users, all while adhering to stringent global regulations.

 

WhatsApp extends Nokia S40, BlackBerry support till end of 2017, drops Symbian support

 

In a good news for Nokia S40 devices owners, WhatsApp has extended support for Nokia S40 devices until the end of 2017. But support for Symbian and S60 devices will not be extended and will be dropped on the pre-announced date of June 30, 2017.

Apart from Nokia S40 devices, WhatsApp has also extended support for BlackBerry OS 7+ and BlackBerry 10 devices. This has been informed by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to Whatsappen.nl.Image result for WhatsApp extends Nokia S40, BlackBerry support till end of 2017, drops Symbian support

Though the WhatsApp FAQ page about support for older operating systems has not been updated yet and it still shows support for Nokia S40 devices ending on June 30, 2017. In this article, you can find the list of Nokia-branded S40, Symbian and S60 devices impacted by this decision.

Nokia has launched new feature phones like new Nokia 3310 (2017) that run on S30+ OS and don’t support WhatsApp. You can however go for a new Nokia Android Phone like Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 if you want to keep enjoying Nokia quality.

WhatsApp for Android Beta Gets Photo Bundling, Refreshed Call Screen

 

Last week, WhatsApp slowly started rolling out the ability to share files of any type, and now, users of the Android beta report that one new feature (media bundling) has been added alongside one aesthetic change (a new call screen). The WhatsApp update may not seem much, but it does give you the option to send photos to your contacts as an album. This WhatsApp feature was rolled out to iPhone users earlier this month, and refines the sharing of multiple photos on the platform.WhatsApp for Android Beta Gets Photo Bundling, Refreshed Call Screen

As per a report by Android Police, WhatsApp beta for Android users are reporting seeing a change in the way photo bundles will be shown to the sender and recipient. WhatsApp users can now send a bunch of photos to their friends, who will receive them bundled as an album and not as before, one after another. One the album is opened, all images are shown on a single page. The feature also indicates that WhatsApp will give more room for shared photos.

whatsapp photo bundling any file transfer gadgets 360 273917 143907 8296 whatsapp

The new update also brings minor change to the WhatsApp call screen where users will now have to swipe up (seen below) instead of sideways to pick up a call.
Running the latest WhatsApp for Android beta, we see the above two features. Android Police reports that the ability to share any file type is slowly rolling out to stable users of the app, and notably, we have also received the feature.

whatsapp new cal screen gadgets 360 273917 143910 6375 whatsapp

To recall, last week, WhatsApp was reported to be rolling support for sharing of all types of files (including archives) on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone with a limited number of users, removing any hindrance of file sharing on WhatsApp.

 

WhatsApp Shaves Off a Little More Privacy

WhatsApp on Thursday announced an update to its terms and privacy policy — the first in four years.

Among other things, the changes will affect the ways users can communicate with businesses while continuing to avoid third-party banner ads or spam messages, according to the company.

whatsapp

However, WhatsApp will begin to share some personal details about its 1 billion users — such as phone numbers and other data — with Facebook, its parent company. The information sharing will permit better tracking of basic metrics, allowing Facebook to offer better friend suggestions, for example — and of course, to show more relevant ads.

Connected Network

The increased connectivity and information sharing might not be apparent to WhatsApp users initially. Further, neither WhatsApp nor Facebook actually will read any messages, which are encrypted. Phone numbers and other personal data won’t be shared with advertisers.

Despite those limitations, the fact that WhatsApp will share any relevant information with Facebook has raised some flags.

“This announcement should be very concerning to WhatsApp users, who have been promised many times by both WhatsApp and Facebook that their privacy will be respected and protected,” said Claire T. Gartland, consumer protection counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

“That is why many individuals use WhatsApp in the first place,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

“WhatsApp may claim otherwise, but this is really the beginning of the end of privacy through that service,” warned Jim Purtilo, associate professor in the computer science department at the University of Maryland.

“We’ve seen this cycle before. Web users visiting sites with a browser once had some sense of privacy, but it didn’t take servers long to figure out how to share traffic data with one another and piece together profiles of each user,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“Today, any time you visit a site which offers a Facebook login or an AddThis tag, you also transmit a trace of your activity to big corporations to analyze and use,” Purtilo added. “Just browsing is enough — traffic analysis lets companies fill in the blanks, and this paints a pretty rich picture of you. You’d be pretty naive to think they go to this trouble for your benefit.”

End of Privacy

The warnings over privacy concerns actually go back to 2014 when Facebook first acquired WhatsApp for approximately US$19.3 billion.

“Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, sent a letter to the companies during Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp warning the companies that the privacy promises made to WhatsApp users must be respected,” recalled EPIC’s Gartland.

“WhatsApp’s blog describes two different means of opting out of the proposed new sharing,” she noted, “and neither of these options appear consistent with Rich’s letter, which requires Facebook to get users’ affirmative consent before changing the way they use data collected via WhatsApp.”

Moreover, it does not appear as if WhatsApp even plans to secure what could be considered “meaningful, informed opt-in consent from its users to begin sharing this information with Facebook,” Gartland suggested.

Opt-Out Process

Users will be able to opt out, according to WhatsApp, but it likely will require reading the fine print — something few users actually do.

“WhatsApp says in a FAQ that existing users can opt out of sharing account information with Facebook for use by Facebook to improve the user’s ‘Facebook ads and predicts experiences’ in two ways,” said Karl Hochkammer, leader of the Honigman Law Firm’s information and technology transactions practice group.

“One way to opt out is to click the ‘read’ hyperlink before accepting the new terms of service and privacy policy, scroll to the bottom of the screen, and uncheck the box,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“This is set up to make the default rule an opt-in, with the option of opting out, so if someone agrees to the new terms and privacy policy without opting out, WhatsApp is also saying that a user has 30 days to make this decision by changing the user account’s settings,” Hochkammer explained. “Even if someone opts out, the information will still be shared with Facebook, but it won’t be used in connection with the user’s Facebook account.”

This method of opting out, in essence, could result in a user’s private information still being shared with Facebook.

“All WhatsApp has effectively said is that they are ready to apply the same analysis techniques to messaging as had previously been done for Web browsing,” remarked Purtilo.

“Privacy goes out the window at that point, even if bit by bit,” he added. “You can’t monetize such services without knowing how to tailor your advertising, and the only way to tailor it is by opening up the traffic and content for analysis, so that big corporations will have an even richer picture of you.”

Will Users Care?

It could be that WhatsApp can’t afford to disregard the wishes of an installed base of more than 1 billion users, but it’s questionable whether many of those users actually care about the new policies.

“On one level, this was probably inevitable. Facebook is a public company that faces investor scrutiny to make a profit,” observed Greg Sterling, vice president of strategy and insight at the Local Search Association.

“It is the logic of the market, and thus was unlikely that WhatsApp could continue with the small subscription model,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “It simply has too large a user base for Facebook to ignore from the advertiser point of view.”

Though there may be a loud and vocal minority that objects, most users will accept the changes.

“Look at the many changes that Facebook has made over the years,” said Sterling.

“That hasn’t had a detrimental impact on the company, even as many of its users are distrustful of Facebook,” he pointed out.

WhatsApp “is probably betting that users who would never try their service under these terms are now sufficiently dependent that they give up their data rather than invest the effort to find alternate products,” said Purtilo, “and we’ve seen that before as well. This is how privacy dies, bit by bit.”