New WhatsApp policy: Why it’s worry

New WhatsApp policy: Why it’s worry

WhatsApp, the most popular social media application has announced changes to its Terms of Service (ToS), it will come into action from February 8th. In order to use the Application, the user is required to agree to the changes in policy. Failing to do so, will prevent them from using the app.  The most recent change in WhatsApp policy was on January 4, 2021. WhatsApp holds history to be a Facebook (FB) subsidiary since 2014.

♦Why has WhatsApp introduced a change in terms of service?

  • For a long time, Facebook has been integrating the services of Facebook, (the social media), Facebook messenger (the updated form of Facebook), Instagram (introduced by Facebook), and WhatsApp. Instagram and FB Messenger were Integrated in October 2020.
  • The changed terms of service of WhatsApp explain the use of WhatsApp for business purposes. It has given the option for B2B or B2C Conversations.  WhatsApp is also introducing an option for payment and Facebook will be conjoining the related data.
  • The initiative by WhatsApp might get rolled out as well. As it could be considered as a hurried decision to prevent developments in a Landmark anti-trust case currently going on.
  • Facebook has been sued by The US Federal Trade Commission and multiple states of the US for showing monopolist behavior. The demand presented is to remove the integration of WhatsApp and Instagram from Facebook.  The company might have prepared to show this integration as a final decision.

♦How will this change in terms of service affect us?

  • The privacy of the user is affected as WhatsApp has certain data about the user. And Facebook has a similar feature, both these data are in a different format. If these data are combined together the personal data of the user could be taken out. Like your phone number on WhatsApp and Facebook account linked to that number.
  • When this policy comes to action and users agree to that policy Facebook will start compiling data such as contacts, groups, and activities from both the platforms. So, if someone uses the feature of WhatsApp transaction, then Facebook might associate bank account or card details that WhatsApp would store and could be exploited later.

ALSO READ: What are the major changes of Banking Rules in 1st Jan 2021

♦What kind of data can WhatsApp share/exploit?

  • The terms of service state: “We collect information About your activity on our services, like Service-related, diagnostic, and performance information. This includes
  • WhatsApp service settings; user-interactions; time, frequency and duration of Activity; log files and diagnostic logs, etc.”

“This also includes information about When you registered to use our services;

  • It will include the features we use like our messaging, Calling, status, groups, payments, or business features; profile photo, ‘about’ information; whether you are online when You last used our services; and when you Last updated your ‘about’ information.”
  • These data also contain information about the device and Connection-specific information like.
  • Model of the device, operating system, internet browser, IP Address, phone number, and device identifier. In addition, the new policy also indicates battery level, signal strength, app version, and identifiers unique to Facebook products like Onavo and CrowdTangle.
  • The business WhatsApp might also share user information. And the data shared with business accounts could be presented by third-party Service providers.

♦Is sharing data a worry?

  • When compiled together the data becomes huge and could reveal further details of the user also. And for the users having a WhatsApp group for everything like school, events, and other plans, Facebook will know all those personal details like location, pictures, conversation, etc.

♦Does this change in terms of service means our WhatsApp chats Are no longer encrypted?

  • The chat is still encrypted with this change but the new feature has increased the chances of leaking the data.  someone sharing private information has to be aware of what they are choosing to share. As it might not stay private anymore.

♦What if the user doesn’t agree with the new Policy?

  • There are 2 options, one is to exit WhatsApp, and the other is to agree with the service. In case the user wants to continue using WhatsApp without the fear of data being leaked. The user can Keep a separate WhatsApp sim and not use it for anything else. And advising other groups to do the same.

♦What are the alternative platforms to WhatsApp?

  • Signal is one of the best alternatives to WhatsApp.  It’s the most secured form and groups can also be migrated easily.  But Signal has lesser color schemes and features.

Note: Telegram is similar in terms of features. it has Russian parentage.

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