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A guide to temporary phones and online privacy

Enjoy Europe with an anonymous WhatsApp account!

by John Cravath

Europeans prefer to use WhatsApp much more than Americans. Often they even prefer it to regular text messages. If you find yourself in Europe you may want to create an anonymous WhatsApp account -- or perhaps simply a second, temporary, WhatsApp account.

Why bother with an anonymized WhatsApp account?

Most Americans do not know that Facebook owns WhatsApp, according to a survey performed by the search engine DuckDuckGo. After WhatsApp was sold to Facebook, the WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton told everyone to delete Facebook over privacy concerns. Acton subsequently donated $50 million to launch the Signal foundation, to protect consumer data and privacy, issuing the statement:

"We believe there is an opportunity to act in the public interest and make a meaningful contribution to society by building sustainable technology that respects users and does not rely on the commoditization of personal data."

Now that Facebook owns WhatsApp, you may want to exercise caution over the data you share on either network. Even as Facebook suffers increasing regulation and scrutiny after various privacy crises, consumers still do not understand how Facebook, and its subsidiaries, share and manage their data. Nor do consumers realize how much data they give out, and your phone number is a key piece of information for data brokers to tie your identity across networks. As the Financial Times reports:

"Even consumer data leaders such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Snapchat have signed up as customers of brokers such as Acxiom, Oracle, Experian and others, because of the wealth and granularity of offline and cross-device data they have accumulated."

Use Temporary SMS to create a temporary number for WhatsApp verification and enjoy a de-personalized account for a little peace of mind.

System Upgrade: Better (Free) Temporary Phone Numbers

by John Cravath

All phone numbers updated

by John Cravath