News By/Courtesy: Aakash Raj | 10 Jan 2021 1:53am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook domination
  • Privacy concerns
  • WhatsApp alternatives

WhatsApp has announced changes to its terms of service (ToS) effective from 8th February 2021. Users must adhere to the updates, otherwise, WhatsApp would not be allowed to be accessed. The update came on January 4, 2021, while WhatsApp is an affiliate of Facebook (FB) since 2014. With encrypted conversations and other critical technology built into the app, WhatsApp has long prided itself on its commitment to security and privacy. But the latest announcement has ignited concerns of the very opposite: Are the user data not kept confidential but shared with Facebook instead? Mark Zuckerberg in October 2020 announced that Facebook would be working to integrate social media platforms like Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Already, Instagram and Facebook Messenger are integrated. The latest Terms and Conditions (ToS) clarifies how corporations will use WhatsApp for B2B or B2C conversations. WhatsApp is now adding payment solutions, and FB would like to integrate the knowledge with them. In a landmark anti-trust situation, this proposal could also be carried out in a scramble to pre-empt innovations. It is demanded that Instagram and WhatsApp be disconnected from FB, and maybe spun off. But the company has decided to keep all the platforms integrated. Its effect? Your privacy is affected. Any data about you is kept by both WhatsApp and Facebook. The data is present in multiple silos. The business learns better if the silos speak to each other. It may discover, for example, that a given phone number (used for WhatsApp) is associated with an FB account (which may have a different name and/or associated number). Facebook will compare WhatsApp connections, conversations, and WhatsApp communities to which you belong, and compare those contacts to Facebook contacts and events. Plus, Facebook will be able to connect a bank account or card information that WhatsApp can pick up as you use WhatsApp transaction services. The new ToS states that our services, such as service-related, diagnostic, and performance data, we collect data about your operation. This includes configurations for the WhatsApp service; user-interactions; operation time, frequency and duration; log files and diagnostic logs, etc. This also provides information on when you registered to use our services; the tools you use such as our texting, calling, status, groups, payments or business features; the picture of the profile,' about' information; when you are online when our services were last used; and when your 'about' information was last changed. In addition, battery speed, signal power, software update, and identifiers specific to Facebook products such as Onavo and CrowdTangle are also listed in the new regulation. Businesses can also exchange user data on WhatsApp. Also, content exchanged with company accounts may be made available to third-party suppliers of services. Another troubling factor for Indians is that, along with school communication, meetings of the Resident Welfare Association also take place through WhatsApp groups. Facebook can also learn personal information about minors, such as their location, colleges, photos, etc. They might even know about your collection of trash, and whose dog bit which neighbour. Although your chats essentially stay encrypted end-to-end, this extension of data sharing allows leakage more possible. You need to stop or be mindful that it does not remain confidential if you are accustomed to exchanging private information or holding private WhatsApp conversations. Don’t agree with the new policy? Better switch to new platforms now for securing your personal data from being misused. Perhaps the better of the alternatives is Signal. It's the most stable and it's easy to migrate classes. But there is little to Signal than aesthetic colour schemes and functions, and the GUI is not easy to use. In terms of specifications, Telegram is equivalent, but it has Russian parentage. Network effects are the big issue with alternatives; in 10 minutes, you can switch to Signal/ Telegram, however, the question remains. Can you convince your contacts to move with your selected platform? What's the point of switching to a site that is not used by your network of contacts?

 

This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.

 

 

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 11 Jan 2021 9:27am IST


Tags : #PrivacyIssues #MarkZuckerberg #NoToWhatsApp

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