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The truth about your WhatsApp data

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There has been a recent backlash on WhatsApp after posting what appears to be a privacy policy review. I will try to clarify what happened.

Some people believe that messaging apps will force Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, to pass personal data.

That is completely incorrect.

WhatsApp’s policies have changed in appearance rather than how to provide more data to Facebook. The bottom line is that Facebook is already collecting a lot of information from what people are doing on WhatsApp.

The turmoil was the result of Facebook’s communication turmoil, distrust of the company, and violations of US data protection laws.

Here’s what changed and what didn’t change in WhatsApp:

Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014, and since 2016, almost everyone using messaging apps (usually unknowingly) has shared information about their activities with Facebook.

Facebook knows the phone number used, how often the app is opened, the resolution of the device screen, the estimated location from the internet connection, etc., as my colleague Kashmir Hill explained five years ago.

Facebook will use this information to verify that WhatsApp is working properly and allow shoe companies to display ads on Facebook.

Facebook cannot snoop on text or phone content because WhatsApp communications are scrambled. Facebook also states that it does not keep a record of who is contacting WhatsApp and that WhatsApp contacts are not shared with Facebook. (This wired article is also useful.)

WhatsApp has many advantages. It’s easy to use and the communication within the app is secure. But yes, WhatsApp is Facebook, a company that many people don’t trust.

There are alternatives such as Signal and Telegram. Both have seen a surge in new users lately. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy group, states that Signal and WhatsApp are good choices for most people. The Wall Street Journal also looked at the strengths and weaknesses of some popular messaging apps.

WhatsApp recently notified app users about the revision of their privacy rules because Facebook is trying to make WhatsApp a place to chat with airlines, browse handbags and pay for flight cancellations.

WhatsApp policies have been modified to reflect the potential for commercial transactions involving a mixture of activities between Facebook apps. For example, a handbag viewed on WhatsApp may later pop up in the Instagram app.

Unfortunately, WhatsApp did a terrible job explaining what’s new in the privacy policy. It took a fair amount of reporting for me and data privacy rock star Kash to understand.

I would also like to touch on the deeper reasons for the misunderstanding.

First, this is a historical hangover that Facebook was familiar with our personal data and was reckless about how the company and its partners used it. It’s no wonder people thought Facebook changed WhatsApp policy in a terrible way.

Second, people have come to understand that privacy policies are confusing, and companies really don’t have the power to reduce the data they collect.

“This is a matter of the nature of US privacy law,” Kash said. “They can do whatever they want, as long as they tell you they’re probably doing it with a policy you haven’t read.”

In short, digital services, including WhatsApp, offer us unattractive choices. We abandon the management of personal information or do not use the service. that’s it.


Another false belief that’s floating about WhatsApp — this is also WhatsApp’s fault, not yours — the app is removing the option to refuse to share WhatsApp data with Facebook.

incorrect.

Yes, there was a short moment of choice when Facebook made a major change to the WhatsApp privacy policy in 2016. People can check the box to order Facebook not to use WhatsApp data for commercial purposes.

Facebook is still collect Data from WhatsApp users, as explained above But the company does not use Data for “improving the advertising and product experience”, such as making recommendations from friends.

But that option on WhatsApp only existed for 30 days in 2016. This was before the lifetime of the digital age, before about 4 million Facebook data scandals.

For those who started using WhatsApp in 2016, and for many, Facebook has collected a lot of information without the option to refuse.

“Many people didn’t know that until now,” Jenny Gebhart of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told me. And she said, we are not responsible.

It feels like you need advanced training and a law degree in computer science to understand what happens with our digital data. And Facebook, a company with lots of cash and a stock price of over $ 700 billion, didn’t or couldn’t explain what was happening in a way that people could understand.


  • More Digital Fallout from Parliamentary Mob: YouTube has blocked President Trump’s account from posting new videos for at least the next seven days, my colleague Dai Wakabayashi wrote. Like Facebook and Twitter, YouTube quoted the possibility of false or incendiary claims from Mr. Trump’s video to increase the risk of violence over the takeover of the presidential administration.

  • More Digital Fallout from Capitol Mob: Gizmodo mapped hundreds of users of Parler, a mob social network that flocked to the Capitol last week. This was possible because the parlor was less secure, allowing researchers to download data, including people’s posts and GPS coordinate records.

  • Some people make good money online. I don’t do much: This also applies to YouTube and Instagram, as well as OnlyFans, a website where you can charge others to access sexually explicit images. My colleague Gillian Friedman told a woman about her experience as an OnlyFans creator.

A big trend in TikTok videos over the past few weeks has been people singing and remixing sea shanti — yeah, those old timely sailor songs. This sea shanti video is fun,this is Electronica version..


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The truth about your WhatsApp data

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