What is the new WhatsApp Privacy Policy?

International Jan 17, 2021

On 6th Jan WhatsApp announced changes in its privacy policy and terms of service and since then, it has been in the news. Users are wary of the updated policy due to which WhatsApp has suffered a lot of backlash and a mass exodus in the past few days.

What are the changes in the policy?

The application requires you to accept the sharing of your collected data to ‘Facebook and other companies’. This option to share data with Facebook has existed for years, but now this is no more an option. It is a mandatory condition to use WhatsApp. Earlier the data collected by WhatsApp was not shared with Facebook. But from Feb 8 all the data collected by any of these companies will be shared with each other. The information shared with Facebook includes the user’s browser information, language, phone’s battery level, signal strength, time zone, IP address and mobile network. This data will be used to personalize adds. WhatsApp although has clarified that the changes are pertaining to ‘messages with a business’ and not to ‘messages with friends and family’.

What is the concern?

The concern that the users have is that this change has led to an integration of WhatsApp and Facebook which is known to have a hostile image in privacy matters. This change in the policy cannot be seen in the European Union as it has the General Data Protection Regulation which is one of the world's strictest data protection regulations. But India lacks such regulation and the Indian law doesn’t have much control over the data collected by these companies. Thus, users fear the possibility of a data breach which may leave users’ data out in the open.

Is there any other option for WhatsApp?

There is no compelling reason to move out of WhatsApp as soon as possible in the event that you use it principally to speak with loved ones. Notwithstanding, there is by all accounts a departure occurring. Signal is beating out all competitors on Apple's App Store and it seems, by all accounts, to be driven by downloads from India, as per a tweet from the organization.

Signal also offers end-to-end encryption (E2E), like WhatsApp, yet it is controlled by a non-benefit helped to establish by WhatsApp originator Brian Acton. Sign's E2E convention is actually utilized by WhatsApp. It has various highlights that WhatsApp offers, yet whatever as gathering video calling are as yet in the beta stage.

It likewise does not have a portion of the accommodation WhatsApp offers, for example, the capacity to back up the entirety of your talks to an outsider help, for example, Google Drive or iCloud, or the capacity to associate with business accounts.

Another encrypted messaging application is Telegram, made by Russian siblings Nikolai and Pavel Durov, with highlights like WhatsApp. It is more developed than Signal since it has been around since 2013. Telegram groups can be made noticeable to all or keep hidden.

The biggest advantage of WhatsApp is that it is universal and everybody on your contact list is utilizing it. On Signal, even now, you need to go searching for clients to talk with. In any case, the application will make sense, well if a whole friend circle chooses to move discussions there. In the event that you are considering stopping WhatsApp yet at the same time proceeding to utilize Facebook items, for example, Messenger, Instagram and Facebook itself, at that point the activity will be futile.

This article has been written by Smaran Kulkarni for The Paradigm

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