WhatsApp still shares a lot of your data

WhatsApp announced that it will postpone its new privacy policy from February 8 to May 15 for a month after facing many setbacks. The reaction was so strong that millions of new users signed up for alternatives like Telegram and Signal – around 25 million new users signed up for Telegram in just three days, and Signal became the number one app in its category in many parts of the world It took so many people that it couldn’t keep up with demand, and it took almost two days to fix a major outage that started on Friday.

Facebook’s WhatsApp launched its new privacy policy with the aim of studying how people talk to businesses. The data collected would only relate to business chats, WhatsApp clarified and published an FAQ page on its website to emphasize that no private messages are read.

“WhatsApp is based on a simple idea: What you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means that we always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook see these private messages For this reason, we do not keep any logs of who sends all messages or calls. We cannot see your shared location and we cannot share your contacts with Facebook, “says a Blog post adding, “This update does not extend our ability to share data with Facebook.”

This, along with Signal’s issues that took more than a day to fully resolve, could lead people to think they can go back to WhatsApp – it remains a very reliable service, and the company has shown that it will listen to the users, right?

The fact is that WhatsApp already shares a lot of information with Facebook. If it says the update doesn’t expand the ability to share data with Facebook, it’s because it has been able to share your data for years.

That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot of disinformation in the past week. If you’re the type of person who’s already been on Signal, you’ve likely been asked several times a day if people should switch apps. And you have probably also been asked, “Does WhatsApp read my groups and messages?” And the simple answer is no, your messages will not be read (unless you are the target of a Pegasus hack or someone has access to your phone or access to your backups in the cloud, there are always some exceptions). WhatsApp uses the same end-to-end encryption as Signal. Unlike Telegram, WhatsApp enables E2E by default in all chats, while in Telegram you have to initiate a secret chat.

But many other factors that people were concerned about have always been the case. A viral image shows the App Store privacy labels, which state what information an app collects. While Signal does not collect any data associated with you, WhatsApp will review your purchases, financial information, locations, contact information, contacts, content, identifiers, usage data, and diagnostics.

App Store WhatsApp Privacy Screenshot WhatsApp

This hasn’t changed, despite WhatsApp changing their minds on how to enforce its policies immediately. If you were worried about Mark Zuckerberg looking at your messages, that wasn’t going to happen anyway.

But since 2016 WhatsApp Has I’ve shared a lot of other data with Facebook and it will continue to do so. If you look at the Affiliates section of the Privacy PolicyIt is explained that Facebook can use the data collected about you in order to profile you more precisely and use this for example to place advertisements or to show suggestions from friends. So it might know (as a hypothetical example) that in real life you go to Decathlon stores a lot and therefore fill your Instagram feed with a lot more ads for fitness products.

As written down by the researcher Wolfie Christl, Facebook said In 2014, it would not be possible to reliably map Facebook and WhatsApp accounts. That was obviously not true. But in places where there are strict laws to protect a user’s privacy, WhatsApp has to stick to the line. In Europe the company offers a different Privacy Policy.

In India, the government has been discussing a data protection law for several years – after many false starts, a data protection law was proposed more than a year ago, but was not pushed forward. Last month, BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said The joint parliamentary committee will re-draft the bill, so it will take more time. If we want European protection, we need European legislation first.

In the meantime, WhatsApp may have changed its stance on its new privacy policy, but the data shared by Facebook won’t stop. Switching to Signal, a charitable fundraiser, makes sense because tracking your data is of no use. Many of us have been using Signal for years and alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo to improve our privacy. But don’t be fooled by the misinformation that your private messages are being read.


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