Whisper, a mobile app that allows people to post anonymous images and messages, has denied allegations made in a report by The Guardian that it secretly tracks users' locations and uses private data for research purposes. "Whisper does not collect nor store any personal identifiable information from users therefore their privacy and anonymity are always protected," Neetzan Zimmerman, Whisper editor in chief, wrote Thursday in a strongly worded response to the Guardian article. The company acknowledged that its internal tools for monitoring the service are "more robust" than public ones and that it shares data with law enforcement when legally obligated to. But it vehemently denied that it tracked users who had opted not to share location data, closely monitored users it deems "newsworthy," or stored any personally identifiable information. The back-and-forth is typical of the controversy in social media today over what exactly constitutes concepts like "private," "anonymous" and "personally identifiable," as well as the balance such services must observe in respecting both their users and the law.
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