Does WhatsApp Respect and Protect your Privacy?

WhatsApp Privacy Policy

Introducing WhatsApp:

Whatsapp is a social media application that provides you with the service such as sending messages, pictures, videos, and other files and documents. The application also lets you take phone calls and video calls over the internet free of charge. Whatsapp is a multiplatform application that has over 2.7 billion active users.

India is the biggest market for Whatsapp with over 340 million users (34 crore Indians). WhatsApp is the most popular messaging and Voice over IP service owned by Facebook.

Why is WhatsApp in the news now?

So, basically, Whatsapp came up with a new policy which gives the company further access to user’s data and more. Rumors are that they want to share the said data with its parent company Facebook. 

More rumors are that the users have to mandatorily accept the new terms and conditions, the new terms of service will be applicable from February 8, 2021. It’s either accept the new policy and let us have access to your data or be ready to lose your WhatsApp account and all the data with it.

So, is this all it? Are we just concerned with Whatsapp eyeing on our data or it is something more?

What’s the real WhatsApp deal?

How many of you know that almost each and every application in your phone, tablet, laptop, and other gadgets track your usage. From as small as accessing your basic information to as much as the data they can get their hands on. All your personal, financial, and other information are stored in some of the other devices that are connected to the internet. 

We saw this coming 20 years back! Didn’t we all know that “Data is the new oil” and those that can access it will access it to the fullest!

Even your personal information will be accessed. One that you’ll not even share with any other individual, you are sharing it with the app you use. They call it “data access to provide a personalized user experience”.

Is Whatsapp actually sharing all your data with Facebook?

There are two ways to answer this.

  1. Yes, almost all your data that you feed into any devices that are connected to the internet will be or can be accessible. So, next time you give your information to any application, think whether it is worth the risk.
  2. No, although the data you give can be accessed. The companies are barred from accessing personal information and users have all the right to deny providing the information. Hence, it is illegal to have access to your personal information. (When we say personal, I hope you know what I mean).

What does WhatsApp’s new policy say? 

If you check out the Whatsapps new policy in regards to “Information they collect”. All it says is as follows.

=> “WhatsApp must receive or collect some information to operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services, including when you install, access, or use our Services”.  

Information such as your phone number, name, and other basic information. Once you install the application, you’ll be asked to give your basic information upon which you’ll be assigned an account for usage. Every application you use on your device does this. 

=> “Our Services have optional features which, if used by you, require us to collect additional information to provide such features. You will be notified of such a collection, as appropriate. If you choose not to provide the information needed to use a feature, you will be unable to use the feature”.

Here, additional information can be such access that you are supposed to give access to, for better usage of the service. For example, share your location, contact details, images, and videos by giving access to GPS, phone contacts, gallery, and such others respectively.

Now, the real issue people are talking about all over. Wherein people are worried that their data will be shared to Facebook and other platforms. Such personal and crucial data will be shared with no restrictions. 

This particular information is not true and people need not be worried. All the data you share in Whatsapp is and will remain end-to-end encrypted. This means that no third party can have access to your data. 

Whatsapp policy states it very clearly. It says –  “We do not retain your messages in the ordinary course of providing our Services to you. Instead, your messages are stored on your device and not typically stored on our servers. Once your messages are delivered, they are deleted from our servers”. 

Now, I’ll conclude the “WhatsApp case” by saying this. If you are worried that your personal data, your personal chat messages and other information such as location, image & videos, contact information, other files, and documents will be shared to Facebook and other third-party platforms. Then, worry not for that ain’t true. 

No application can do this without your permission. Only you can do this. But, I’ll also give you a heads up by saying this. They can access your information only if you let them. What I’m saying is. Have a barrier. Have a limit to what you share on the internet and know what not to share.

If you think that all your data is safe and you need not worry a bit then you are being naive. 

Data is what you pay!

Do you know, when Whatsapp was released, they first had plans to charge you for the service? Do you know that although Whatsapp and other messenger applications are free for the user? They consume a lot of money to manage (for the company who manages, I.e Whatsapp LLC, Facebook). 

Now, it takes a lot of Human and Monetary effort to manage an application such as Whatsapp. But still, they do it. You know why?

It is true that we are not paying Whatsapp any money for using their platform. But, we sure are paying them plenty of data. Yes, your data is not up for access but it is. 

I know it is confusing. Let me explain it clearly.

Nothing in this world comes for free. If it seems so, then note that you are paying but you don’t know how you are paying. Same case here. We are giving our data access to Whatsapp and other messenger applications, other social media applications, and all other applications that you use on your device by using their service.

These applications provide their platform as a service without any service charges because they get to have access to your data. The data will be analyzed based on all the information we provide. The technology is so advanced that the data will be segregated based on demographics, age profile, sex, and others.

This way, they can provide personalized advertisements. Yes, that is their main goal, At least the case, as of now. All these applications can access your information and thus they get to know what are your needs and wants based on which you will be shown personalized advertisements.

So, basically. They are selling you your own data. In this case, they take your information and sell you some products or services. Think of it something like this, “The applications know about your needs and wants more than you know”.

What about data shared with Whatsapp’s Business portfolio?

It is a business version of Whatsapp specifically designed for those businesses that want all the above-mentioned features but with the customers, instead of family and friends. Small and Medium-sized enterprises who cannot afford or do not want to spend on specialized customer-centric software use WhatsApp Business. 

WhatsApp Business is a free application. The same logic of “data as money” applies here. Instead of paying with real money. We pay the company (Whatsapp) with our data.

Why is privacy important?

Remember, Privacy is not just any right. It is a fundamental right! Your right to privacy shouldn’t be an option to you. If you do not wish to share anything. Then, you are not supposed to.

But, is that what’s going on? 

Every application, website, and other such user-centric platforms running on the internet demands and collects a lot of data. It’s in their intrinsic behavior to take user’s data one way or the other.

And we let them! 

We give access to every other social media application and other services without checking into their privacy policy. We do not check what’s in there. 

This has been taken advantage of by many companies where they clearly mention that they use your data and since we do not read any ‘privacy policy statement’ or even if we read, due to the high-level business language with overemphasized jargons they use. We never understand them fully. And, thus we give them every access they wish for. 

What can we do to overcome privacy issues?

Instead of fighting over the revolutionized changes, that’s happening. I.e, Change of world order from resource-centric to data-centric (minerals resources are what led the world into what we see today. Further on, we’ll see those to lead who have access to “data”).

If you really do not want to share any of your data. Then, you should stay away from any and all kinds of social media platforms and basically avoid the internet. In today’s time, that’s almost like cutting all your ties with human civilization. 

Instead, know your boundaries for capitalism have none!

Know what to share and what not to. Nowadays, we take our dearest gadgets to wherever we go (literally!). Think of where all you go, what all you do on any given day, and try to remember where your personal gadget is at those periods.

Yes, your gadget never leaves your side. Now, note that recent studies have shown that our personal gadget though removed access, though cut-off from the internet, they still spy on us. 

And, adding insult to injury. 

We got tech-gadgets such as “Google Home”, “Apple HomePod”, “Amazon Echo Dot” and others to whom we give specific access to our entire life. We literally ask them stuff, we ask them to do and not do such activities that we could have instead done ourselves (Not mentioning what we ask these gadgets. I want you to think about that stuff you ask your personal gadgets to do for you). 

A piece of privacy.

Either take a piece of privacy with you or make peace with your privacy. But, do not ever pay a price for your privacy!

From the time we wake up till the time we get back to sleep. We take these gadgets along with us. They are part of our entire life. Both personal and professional. They see, listen, and be part of us, by being amongst us. And then, we say they are infringing our privacy. 

No, we can’t avoid gadgets. But, we very well can limit our “digital footprint” by avoiding these internet-based gadgets at those times which we consider as “Privacy”.

Remember – If you share, they’ll surely stare!

Disclaimer: All the information on this website is published in good faith and for general information purpose only.

2 thoughts on “Does WhatsApp Respect and Protect your Privacy?”

    1. Hi Faxon,

      Yup! Those were the dark days when ‘WhatsApp’ wasn’t telling us anything clear. 😅
      Happy to help you out with the information.

      Don’t forget to check us out on our Social media. Link in the footer.

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