Anonymous app Whisper promises its users anonymity when they post on its social network, but in reality its parent company is tracking users and sharing information with the government.
The problem is that many of Whisper's users bought into the idea of anonymity on the Internet (foolish, we know!) and specifically opted out of geolocation tracking -- all to find out that there was no such thing, according to the Guardian. So, those posting about personal and intimate details about their lives should probably stop.
Whisper also hands over information from smartphones around military bases to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Guardian's in-depth piece (it was exploring a partnership with the app at the time, but now it's not) told of the executives tracking certain "newsworthy" users based on their descriptions, such as a "sex-obsessed lobbyist" in Washington or soldiers on the front lines in war zones. Apparently the technology allows the company to monitor all messages from a specific area including the Pentagon and National Security Agency, as well as individual user behavior over a period of time. From the report:
User data, including Whisper postings that users believe they have deleted, is collated in a searchable database. The company has no access to users’ names or phone numbers, but is storing information about the precise time and approximate location of all previous messages posted through the app. The data, which stretches back to the app’s launch in 2012, is being stored indefinitely, a practice seemingly at odds with Whisper’s stated policy of holding the data only for “a brief period of time”.