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Alert on Whatsapp’s New Privacy Policy

WhatsApp is not just a word it is an emotion for most people. From the moment we wake up we start staring at our phone screens sharing those age-old good morning messages and updating status. It does not matter whether we got any messages or not but we keep checking WhatsApp now and then because we are very much addicted to it. Although it connects people across the world, this fails to connect people next to us. While we simply enjoy all the services provided by WhatsApp, it finds the potential of our information and released a new privacy policy seeking a way to assess the information.

So, this let us find out about the new privacy policy and check out various alternatives.

What is this all about?

The updated privacy policy seems to collect all our information with its family of companies to facilitate, support, and integrate our activities and improve their services.

Following this, all the information that is collected will be automatically be shared with WhatsApp. This includes all the information which we provide like phone number, our basic information, profile photo, status, and ‘about’ information.

It also seems to collect information about the device we use, our mobile network, IP address among others. All the data about our location from our device would be collected and used with our permission.

What Facebook-owned WhatsApp says is that they use the information received from us and the data that we share with them to operate, provide, understand, customize, support, and market their services and offerings including the Facebook company products.

So our data can be used by Facebook and its other products to give us suggestions, personalized features, and content, help us during purchases and transactions and also show relevant offers and ads across the Facebook company products.

The Facebook products include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Portal-branded devices, Oculus Products, Facebook Shops, Spark AR Studio, Audience Network, NPE Team apps, and any other features, apps, technologies, software, products or services offered by Facebook Inc.

WhatsApp Updates its Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions; Here's All You  Need to Know to Continue Using the Messaging Service

The information which we provide:

 Account Information: WhatsApp collects all the basic information and our phone number when we create our WhatsApp account. Only if we provide this information it would create our account or else, we cannot do it. Also, we add a profile picture and write something in the “about” column.

Our Messages: They claim that they don’t retain our messages, once the message is sent, they are deleted from their services. But when messages could not be delivered, they are encrypted from their servers for up to 30 days. If the messages are still undelivered then they will be deleted. Also, when we forward media within a message, they store that media temporarily in an encrypted form on their servers to provide more efficient delivery of additional forwards.

It highlights its claim to have all the messages end–to–end encrypted. So, neither WhatsApp nor the third parties would be able to read our messages. They also profess that Whatever we share on WhatsApp like messages, photos, account information would not be shared onto Facebook or any of its family apps to see.

Our Connections: All the contact data which would upload with the phone number are given to them.

About transaction and payment: Having all the features updated it confesses that if we use WhatsApp for payment and transactions, additional information including payment account and transaction information is processed by the company. All these data would be necessary to complete the transaction like payment method, shipping details, and transaction amount. It further adds that if we use their payment services available in our country or territory, their privacy practices are described in applicable payments privacy policy.

WhatsApp ads?

It professes that it does not allow third-party ads on its services and has no intention to do so, but if they ever come up with a plan to do, they will let us know about it through the privacy policy. However, they pass this information about us to the market services of Facebook companies.

Businesses and third-party services:

WhatsApp Business which was recently launched by WhatsApp allows the business to contact and communicate with customers utilizing this app. For example, all the activities like making purchases, booking flight tickets, tickets to various events are included under this. The chat between us and the business is end-to-end encrypted, once the message is received it would be subjected to the business’s privacy practices, which is the claim made by WhatsApp.

Do we have any choice?

If we wish to use WhatsApp then we have to accept the new terms and conditions formulated by WhatsApp. But if don’t wish to do so, we can delete our account. In case, if some people have accepted these terms and conditions, but wish to opt-out from this, they will have additional 30 days to opt-out and delete their account.

What happens after we delete our account?

If we delete our account, all our undelivered messages would be deleted from their servers along with our data. We can also do this without uninstalling WhatsApp by going to settings > Account and selecting ‘Delete my account’.

“Please remember that when you delete your account, it does not affect the information other users have relating to you, such as their copy of the messages you sent them,” WhatsApp’s privacy policy adds.

Do we have any alternatives?

The answer is yes. After this, we can witness a lot of people switching to other messaging apps like telegram and signal. After Elon Musk’s suggestions to use signal the shares of the signal app, raised tremendously.

Signal app: It is most secure and completely encrypted. Also, it has a feature to make messages disappear after a certain time set by the user. It ensures more privacy. But it does not have animated stickers.

Telegram: It is also highly secured and provides multi-device support. All the movies and series can be downloaded and shared among users as it supports big file sharing support. It also has the feature for the disappearance of messages according to the time set by users. Also, it has a wonderful collection of cool animated stickers and many more features.

Not only these two apps, but there are also many such similar apps like Threema and Keybase which can be used.

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