WhatsApp’s new policy: A privacy bogey?

By Kanishk Gaur, 

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy has left lots of unnerved as information privacy has turn out to be a important trigger of concern. WhatsApp announced its new information privacy policy in early February and prompted the customers to comply with it by February 8, 2021. However, due to an intense public misperception and confusion, WhatsApp ultimately delayed the implementation till May 15, 2021 and then agreed to make it implementable post the enactment of the Personal Data Protection Bill in India.

The new WhatsApp privacy policy impacts information regarding exchanges with WhatsApp Business accounts and not the frequent WhatsApp accounts. Importantly, the policy does not expand WhatsApp’s capacity to share information with Facebook.
WhatsApp at the moment gives 3 services to the customers, namely, WhatsApp (for individual chats), WhatsApp Business (for smaller service providers and companies) and WhatsApp API (for integrating the applications of bigger organisations and also applied by the government). The transform in WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy majorly impacts the WhatsApp Business application and not as significantly the other services. According to the new privacy policy, WhatsApp will share user-information with other Facebook businesses only. The common customers are below this misconception that WhatsApp will tap into our chats, communications, and media sharing by means of this metadata and make them public in spite of all communications continuing to stay finish-to-finish encrypted. But what is metadata?

Metadata is largely the information used to determine your device’s common place, IP addresses, time zone, phone model, OS, battery level, signal strength, browser, mobile network, ISP, language, time zone, usage patterns, diagnostic reports (in case your application crashes) and even IMEI. Another frequent misconception is that as a outcome of collecting this, WhatsApp will now know who the user is interacting with on its platform, which is an incorrect inference for the reason that WhatsApp does not preserve log of the user. It is worth noting that user metadata is not equivalent to individual information, and each other platform collects it to operate smoothly.

Most of the platforms and apps in the industry, such as Signal, Telegram, Discord or even the dark internet, enable a user to access them whilst preserving their anonymity at the exact same time. The distinction in the identification method across platforms generates the have to have to shop user metadata. If a individual making use of any such platform (which does not shop any get in touch with information and facts or metadata) gets threatened by one more user or extorted for cash and goes to the police to file a complaint, the police will attempt to come across the culprit. But, however, due to the fact these apps/platforms do not shop any user information, the police and the victim face a dead finish. To protect against on the web crimes, we should really make certain that no one can communicate with us whilst hiding their identity.

A information protection law is the have to have of the hour and would go a lengthy way in making certain uniform sector practices that place user privacy and safety at the highest level.

Founder, India Future Foundation
 Views are individual

Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz