back to article Whisper tracks its users. So we tracked down its LA office. This is what happened next

We were surprised as anyone when The Guardian revealed that, far from being “the safest place on the internet”, the anonymous messaging app Whisper was tracking the location of its users – even when they specifically denied the app access to their location. Worse, if someone's posts were deemed newsworthy, according to The …

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    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Honestly

      If they showed up outside my door, I'd be delighted that they thought I was that interesting.

  1. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Did their office door have...

    ... a "private" sign on it?

    Just wondering.

  2. Oodles of Noodles

    I like this

    Fantastic bit of serious reporting presented in a register-worthy tongue-in-cheek manner. Good stuff.

  3. khisanth

    Is it possible that the reporter is at the wrong address?

    1. TeraTelnet
      Coat

      Well, he's probably within 500 metres of it...

    2. MrWibble
      Joke

      Depends - did he use Google or Apple Maps to navigate there?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Or *spit* Bing.

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

          Dear Mr(s) downvoter,

          I've not used it for some time so they might just possibly have got their act together (yea right) but Bing is the only thing that still showed a road many months after it had collapsed into the sea. It also showed a 'road' in Wales that I wouldn't attempt in anything less than a tank.

          It showed a woodland footpath that didn't exist, and as far as I know, never has existed, and claimed a route for the North Downs Way that would lead you straight to the most dangerous part of the A249.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            @will godfrey

            So what, I've equally found odd errors in Garmin's and TomTom maps -like not knowing that there are two adjacent roundabouts in a junction and telling me to turn left at "the roundabout" when I need to turn left at the second one. Or not knowing that a (different) roundabout has a new exit, before the one it was indicating.

            I use each of them. So far I haven't personally had any problems with Bing and its instructions have been really clear and unambiguous.

            And we all know what happened when the fruit based mapping was introduced.

            But there are commentards who have hating Microsoft as a religion.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Earlier warning from a Forbes journalist

    In a way, this like an anonymous facebook which lowers people's built-in privacy barriers even further. I am not saying that some FB users haven't already scraped the bottom.

    Unfortunately, all the rules and caveats of online security still apply with this app, and even Whisper admits this.

    The problem is that sahred data can be too easily misused on a mega scale. Even News of the World reporters had to work a bit to crack into someone's old-tech voice messages.

    Now imagine what would happen if someone stole all of the Whisper posting data, UUID and location data (yes they hold onto it) and could later link it to individual users? That sort of scenario that would give any gossip sheet/rag a seriously raging hard-on, not to mention its potential use for blackmail etc.

    I'm not a celebrity but please get me outta here......fast

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2014/01/24/3-reasons-to-be-wary-of-secret-sharing-app-whispers-claim-to-anonymity/

    Definitely anonymous, assuming it is still possible to be so,

    1. Bleu

      Re: Earlier warning from a Forbes journalist

      Why not use your normal Reg nickname? I really cannot understand why people use 'post as AC' when it is not offensive or doesn't have to do with the place of work.

      After all, you do have to log in to post as AC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Earlier warning from a Forbes journalist

        > I really cannot understand why people use 'post as AC' when it is not offensive or doesn't have to do with the place of work.

        I can't speak for the other person, but in my case every comment that I have ever posted to El Reg has been as AC, for a number of reasons:

        1. I prefer my comments to be evaluated for their own merit, rather than because it was so-and-so who said it.

        2. I like the idea of this "anybody" who speaks with a thousand voices and often contradicts himself. It is deeply stimulating from a philosophical point of view.

        3. It helps those people who may occasionally wish to post something sensitive, in that they can hide in the noise somewhat. If only a few people posted AC, their writing style and idiolect would give them away immediately even to an occasional reader. There is safety in numbers.

        4. It allows me to contribute what I hope are helpful facts and insights without exposing myself too much. Even if you were to post under a pseudonymous, over time people can learn a surprising amount of detail about you even without access to backend data (IP address, email, etc.)

        5. It protects my customers. Following on from the previous point, security breaches often come from someone collecting little tidbits of information and then joining the dots. By not providing that "anchor" that is your user handle, you make that job a little bit harder.

        Conversely and out of interest, what would the advantages be of posting under a regular handle, or using one's own name for that matter? Thanks. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Earlier warning from a Forbes journalist

          6. It allows me to update things without actually being me, thus democratizing the process of maintaining journalistic integrity.

  5. Bleu

    If only they were paying attention ...

    they'd have known the last Reg article was pretty scathing about the Guardian's. Looking it up, I thought they were rather interesting, sure teaching Whisper the potential value of an NDA, but glad they hadn't worked it out by the time the Guardian turned up!

    For commentards who are not paying attention, Buzzfeed has also cut its 'journalistic' connection with Whisper.

    Nice tale Kieran, even though nothing much happens.

    Maybe the building is just a glorified P.O. box, with a few decrepit servers and dust-covered desks, all connected by cobwebs.

  6. NogginTheNog
    Meh

    Whisper?

    Never heard of it.

    *Sigh* another Internet "must have" passes me by - like Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp, and fuck knows - or cares - what else...

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Whisper?

      Remember PointCast? MySpacce?

      Yeah. I'm with you. Most of them are just pump and dump vehicles for the well connected.

  7. ukgnome

    That's by kind of journalism

    Bravo, simply bravo - although lets be honest having your HQ in venice is possibly why they never opened the door. I've been there, it's not the nicest. In fact I would go as far to say it's scummy.

    If I had of known at the time about whisper and the way it uses data then I would of joined the journo. It would of made my time on the coast more appealing.

  8. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I'm being thick.

    What exactly is it about this "app" that prevents one from removing it from one's device and never using it again?

    To judge by the article the thing embeds itself into one's body and begins transmitting pernicious position parameters to paparazzi.

  9. victoryviatruth

    If you had a tent and the will they would still be locked in there. Nice bust!

  10. opaque

    Probably one of several hundred people that have done the same thing recently.

  11. ecofeco Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    BRAVO!!!

    Command performance right there!

    STANDING OVATION!

    Oh, and fuck them.

  12. ATeal

    Did you read the forensic report?

    http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=4056

    As linked in the article. You don't do that by accident!

  13. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Congratulations, you are now a market segment!

    And that's the ironic crux of this issue - the tinfoil-attired have created such a storm of hot air that they have succeeded in growing their group size to the point where they are now actively being targeted by people selling products, services and conjobs tailored to them as a market segment. It's so amusing that their very paranoia about being 'exploited' and 'having their privacy invaded' is driving them into the arms of exploitative companies that are selling such services and products that they claim will 'protect' the paranoid. How many anti-capitalists blindly forked out cash for these proprietary, capitalist-driven services? It's all too funny for words!

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