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WhatsSpy tracks your WhatsApp online activity

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A new application has emerged which lets you track the online activities of WhatsApp users, including how long they spend on WhatsApp, their privacy settings, and their Online/Offline status - even if they've set all this information to be hidden.

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WhatsApp's shaky reputation for user privacy just got shaken up some more. / © ANDROIDPIT

The web application, called WhatsSpy Public, was developed by Maikel Zweerink as a proof-of-concept to expose the flawed privacy design of WhatsApp. WhatsSpy lets you 'follow' specific users, displaying their usage of WhatsApp in a neat interface.

Zweerink outlined the problem, stating that even if you disable settings such as 'last seen', 'profile picture' and your status, other users still get notified that you're online if you're in a WhatsApp conversation with them.

panel whatsspy track
WhatsSpy lets you easily track online other users' WhatsApp activity. / © WhatsSpy

While Zweerink admits this isn't a security vulnerability as such, he believes it's a serious privacy concern, because most users aren't aware that their WhatsApp activity can be easily tracked when they're using it. Especially when they think they've taken the necessary steps to protect their privacy.

On the project's wiki page, Zweerink said:

I made this project for you to realize how broken the privacy options actually are. It just started out as experimenting with WhatsApp to build a Bot, but I was stunned when I realized someone could abuse this "online" feature of WhatsApp to track anyone.

WhatsSpy is open-source, so anyone can technically run the tool. However, to do so you would need to have a constantly-running server and decent knowledge of how to set up your own IT project. 

This isn't the first time WhatsApp has been proven to have a patchy privacy record. But is this enough to stop you using the popular messaging app?

Go to comment (2)
Robert Zak

Robert Zak
UK Editor

A tech aficionado since he first picked up a NES controller, Robert has written about technology, videogames, and film across a range of sites and magazines, including Den of Geek, Gamasutra, and Computeractive. At AndroidPIT, he'll be bringing you the latest Android news and reviews from the front line in the UK.

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  • Teeroidpaal Gupta Jul 22, 2016 Link to comment

    Not good

  • Finland lord Feb 11, 2015 Link to comment

    A reliable tracking app like i K e y M o n i t o r can also track online WhatsApp activities.