WhatsApp Latest Privacy Update
The company has updated terms about how it handles such massive data reserves, how it will communicate with businesses from now on, and how it shares data with Facebook. The updates will come into effect from February 8, 2021.
Accept or Delete- No Other Way Out
WhatsApp mentions in its ‘Information We Collect’ section that if a user opts to use the “optional features,” the service will collect additional information to provide those features and notify the user about it.
WhatsApp’s notification to inform users about the upcoming updates also mentions that those who want to delete their account instead of agreeing to the new terms should visit the help center for further guidance.
In its updated policy, WhatsApp has expanded the Information You Provide section. The company has specified account payment and transaction data collected while making in-app purchases. The company has replaced the Affiliated Companies section with a new section titled “How We Work With Other Facebook Companies.”
See: WhatsApp Co-Founder Urges Users to Delete Their Facebook Accounts
This section provides details about how the company uses/shares the information collected from WhatsApp with third-parties or other Facebook products. This includes promoting safety, security, and integrity, offering Portal and Facebook Pay integrations, and making suggestions for users to improve their experience.
Such as by optimizing its services and “making suggestions for you (for example, of friends or group connections, or of interesting content), personalizing features and content, helping you complete purchases and transactions, and showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products.”
WhatsApp to Store Forwarded Media
The update also includes new terms about the handling of forwarded data. According to WhatsApp’s new policy terms, the company will temporarily store forwarded data on its servers. So, when someone forwards media within a message, the company will keep it temporarily in encrypted form on its servers to ensure “efficient delivery of additional forwards.”
Furthermore, WhatsApp will store undelivered messages for 30-days max. If the message remains undelivered, the company will delete it from its servers.
“If a message cannot be delivered immediately, we keep it in encrypted form on our servers for up to 30 days as we try to deliver it. If a message is still undelivered after 30 days, we delete it.”
What About Device and Connection Data?
WhatsApp has explained the device and connection data it collects. The data includes:
- Hardware model
- Battery level
- OS information
- Device operations information
- Signal strength
- IP address
- Browser information
- App version
- Mobile network
- Time zone
- Connection information such as phone number, ISP or mobile operator, and identifiers, including those unique to Facebook products associated with the same account or device.
“Even if you do not use our location-related features, we use IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (e.g., city and country),” WhatsApp’s policy reads.
How WhatsApp Works with Facebook Companies
WhatsApp has also included a section to mention how it collaborates with Facebook companies (meaning other companies owned by Facebook such as Instagram, Oculus VR, Onavo, and Beluga), which it has never discussed in the previous policy versions.
See: WhatsApp Gold Scam is Back with Malware Payload
The company explained that it shares data with them to help “operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings’. It shares users’ account registration information, transaction data, mobile device data, and how users interact with others, and their IP address with Facebook companies.
WhatsApp won’t Identify Contacts Not Using the App
In its new policy update, the company stated that the app would not identify contacts that aren’t using WhatsApp.
“If any of your contacts aren’t yet using our Services, we’ll manage this information for you in a way that ensures those contacts cannot be identified by us.”
Those users who do not agree to the new policy and terms will not be able to use WhatsApp from February 8th, 2021 onwards.
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