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WHATSAPP'S PRIVACY POLICY EXPLAINED

WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook, started pushing a new Privacy Policy earlier this month. It stated that some user data will be shared with other Facebook companies but due to the backlash, the changes were postponed from February 18 to May 15, and now the company is facing legal challenges.



image credits: whatsapp.com

In just days after the earlier announcement by WhatsApp, Signal has emerged as the leading app on “app-stores” as Indian users indicated their discomfort with the prior's data-sharing policies.

WhatsApp, with 459 million users, had emerged as the leading communications application for most Indians. What has caused users discomfort is WhatsApp’s ability to directly share user metadata and mobile information with its parent company, Facebook.


India has asked WhatsApp to withdraw the planned change to its privacy policy, posing a new headache to the service that identifies the South Asian nation as its biggest market by users.

In an email to WhatsApp head Will Cathcart, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said the upcoming update to the app’s data-sharing policy has raised “grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens… Therefore, you are called upon to withdraw the proposed changes.”

The center has asked the Facebook-owned company to "respect the informational privacy and data security of Indian users".


Whatsapp in return clarified that the policy changes nothing for those messaging friends and family. It also clarified that in some conditions, business messages — “different than messaging with your family or friends” — can be read by Facebook and could be used for marketing purposes.

Following are some of the keynotes Whatsapp shed light on while explaining their policy:

  • Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can “see your private messages or hear your calls”. Personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption and will continue to be so.

  • WhatsApp does not keep logs of who anyone is messaging or calling because it considers a data dump of this kind of “privacy and security risk”.

  • WhatsApp cannot see a location you have shared with a friend as that too is protected by end-to-end encryption.

  • WhatsApp does not share a user’s contacts with Facebook, or any other app.

  • No data from groups will be shared with Facebook for ad purposes and all the communication within is end-to-end encrypted.


image credits: indianexpress.com


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