Popular chat app, Line, is in hot water with the Thai Government’s Personal Data Protection Committee after releasing an update that shows which accounts users are following in addition to who is following that user.
The feature was quietly released a few days ago as part of an update that did not properly notify users about the ability of other users to now see which Line Official Accounts (OA) they are following and who is following them.
Line is the most popular chat application in Thailand with some 45 million users, leading to a scathing assessment of the update by Dr. Nawanan Theera-Ampornpunt, a newly appointed member of the Personal Data Protection Committee.
He said the update conflicts with the “privacy by design” principle, calling it “outrageous” that Line would provide easy access to this information. Dr. Theera-Ampornpunt said:
“Whether to disclose that data should be the right of the user. This is not the developer’s business.”
He went on to say that if Line wanted to implement such a feature it should be turned off by default to allow users to decide whether they wish to opt-in or not.
Line responded by saying the feature made it easier for users to check the names of Official Accounts and other Line accounts that they follow and allows others to see so they can share interests with friends.
They apologized for the delay in communicating the new feature to Line users and said they “take all the blame and sim to solve this matter as quickly as possible.”
However, it seems the feature is here to stay so if you want to manually turn it off you can do so by going to Settings -> Profile -> and unticking the box that says “Show follow info.”
Source: Bangkok Post