Saturday 9th January 2021

BLOG: Whatsapp’s New Privacy Policy

WhatsApp has issued an update to their privacy policy informing their 2 billion+ users that they must agree to share their data with Facebook in order to keep using the service. Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn). The updates to WhatsApp terms and privacy policy come on the heels of Facebook’s “privacy-focused vision” to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger in order to offer a more coherent and cohesive experience to users across its services.

Users of the Facebook-owned platform are being notified to the new questionable change on WhatsApp’s privacy policy through an in-app notification which asks them to agree to share personal data, including their phone number, with Facebook.

The notification details that “By tapping Agree, you accept the new terms, which take effect on February 8, 2021,” and “After this date, you’ll need to accept the new terms to continue using WhatsApp. You can also visit the Help Center if you would prefer to delete your account.” Alongside this, there is further data set to be shared with Facebook such as “battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone, IP address, device operations information, and identifiers (including identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account).”

Failing to agree to the updated privacy terms will result in accounts becoming inaccessible. These accounts will then remain inactive and WhatsApp will eventually end up deleting the accounts after 120 days of inactivity in order of “maintaining security, limiting data retention, and protecting the privacy of our users.”

The policy update was created to “offer integrations across the Facebook Company Products”, which also includes Instagram and Messenger, according to WhatsApp.

This then poses the question of “do you know where your data is and what it is being used for?” Additionally poses the question “do you know what employees are using to communicate and send data on whilst working from home?” Data sharing can unleash an abundance of privacy issues.

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