Activists raise privacy concerns over new WhatsApp policy
New WhatsApp policy: Cybersecurity activists express data privacy concerns after WhatsApp updates its policy for users
This means that if a user does not accept the new changes, they will no longer be able to access the app or their chats on the platform. WhatsApp started sending alerts related to the new update to its user in India since the start of this week.
“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,” WhatsApp has updated on its website.
India is one of the biggest markets for WhatsApp, accounting for more than 400 million users out of the total 2 billion users globally. Amid this development, digital rights activists have expressed concerns over issues of data privacy in WhatsApp’s updated terms.
This new policy will enable WhatsApp and Facebook to share user data and information that transact on the platform to third-party service providers and other businesses. While WhatsApp has maintained that the new update has been implemented as part of the platform’s business vision to help small businesses to perform better, cybersecurity experts have noted that sharing information with other business will hamper user’s privacy on the platform.
They have highlighted that Indian users will have no alternative but to share their data with Facebook due to lack of privacy policies and regulations. Speaking to the Times of India, Technology lawyer Mishi Choudhary stated that Facebook is taking a “forced consent” from users as they will lose their facilities if they do not agree to WhatsApp’s updated policies.
Apart from privacy issues, the new policy will also lead to antitrust issues on the messaging and social-networking platform as well. Lawyers have stated that Facebook will have an insight into WhatsApp user’s buying behaviour, which it can use to do targeted advertising on Facebook.
Regulators across the world have been paying attention to data sharing policies between Facebook and WhatsApp for years now. In 2018, countries like the UK and France forbade WhatsApp to share personal data of users with Facebook. Reportedly, WhatsApp is implementing similar changes across other countries as well.