Everything you must know about WhatsApp’s new Privacy Policy

WhatsApp’s “New Privacy Policy” has been the most talked topic among privacy experts & its users. This has gained a lot of attention, meanwhile creating lot of tension for WhatsApp users. Initially, WhatsApp announced that the deadline for accepting this new privacy policy is 15 June, 2021, saying you might lose your account if you doesn’t.

Now, that WhatsApp has removed their deadline for accepting this new privacy policy & stated no account shall be deleted from WhatsApp database, there remains few questions answered. WhatsApp which is an online instant messaging application used globally, also told Delhi High Court “that they are not forcing users to accept 2021 update in its privacy policy saying it is not mandatory”. While WhatsApp did say we have a free choice whether to accept this new privacy policy or not, and we are entitled to delete our account whenever we want to. This clearly meant, that if you want to keep using WhatsApp, you have to accept its new policy or you can say bye-bye to your account.

It has been quite a few months since WhatsApp started giving in app notification, to accept their 2021 new privacy policy. By asking you to accept this privacy policy, WhatsApp is asking you to share your personal information with their parent company Facebook (which they have been doing for a long time now). And by personal information, they don’t just mean your contacts list, or photos or access to your browser history, but it includes your payment & transaction data as well.

In 2014, Facebook took over WhatsApp and few years later i.e., 2016 this messaging application updated their privacy policy. In their 2016 privacy policy, Facebook gained access to your contact number via WhatsApp, saying it is only to give you better friends suggestions & show you more appropriate ads. And, now they want to gain access to our banking details as well.

WhatsApp's privacy policy

Even so, company has clearly stated that none of your chats will be shared with Facebook & that the calls & chats still remain to be end-to-end encrypted. Now, the question is, if everything is going to remain same, what is this utter, unexplainable need of Facebook to collect more & more of our data, with the veil of sharing just few relevant friends suggestion & product ads.

Take a look at what Mishi Chaudhary, Technology Lawyer and Founder of SFLC, New York has to say about it!

“WhatsApp is not proposing to begin sharing the information of its users with Facebook. It is not proposing that. Why? Because it has been doing that all along. Once in 2016, for a limited time, everybody had a chance to opt-out. If I was there, and if I also had a Facebook account in 2016 for a limited time, I was given an option that Mishi can opt-out and say I don’t want whatever on WhatsApp to be shared on Facebook,” as said Mishi Chaudhary .

She added “If I was not using WhatsApp back in 2016, and I signed up later or I just did not or I forgot because it was available for a very limited short period of time, I didn’t do it. Now, I can’t do anything. Now, WhatsApp will keep ratting me out to Facebook”.

The suspicion over this new privacy policy of 2021, has made WhatsApp to apprehend in few court cases. WhatsApp in order of its defence in court, said that several other tech companies including Ola, Zomato, Big Basket, AarogyaSetu, Truecaller, Zoom share similar policies & might be collecting even more data!

Mishi explained a notice was issued in which the supreme court had sought responses and said how are you protecting user’s privacy and what does this new policy do? In the meantime, what has also happened is the Competition Commission of India started investigating this new privacy policy.

This means that Competition Commission of India is going to dig deep into excessive data collection policy & how this data is collected & shared with other entities owned by Facebook.

What happens to your account, if you don’t accept WhatsApp’s new privacy policy?

In the initial days, you will get an in-app notification every time you open WhatsApp reminding you to accept new privacy policy. And, if you still decide not to accept it then you will find WhatsApp has become moreover useless or useful to you.

If you don’t accept the policy, then in the starting you will be able to do everything you used with WhatsApp, which includes:

  • being able to receive voice or video calls, or make a voice or video call,
  • in notification reply to messages (if you have enabled notification),
  • being able to revert to a missed voice or video call,
  • share emojis, photos & stuff.

But later on, all these services will be suspended, you will hardly be able to get a WhatsApp call, a message or even the notifications. As WhatsApp stated that no account will be deleted if you don’t accept their policy; which meant no account will be deleted immediately.

Thus, WhatsApp will delete your account after a span of 120 days reason being “inactivity” (which you can consider as a countdown if you wish to not accept the new privacy policy).

Since, the advancement of applications, almost every application is collecting our data, which often go unnoticed because our ignorance or due to that big veil of “Terms & Conditions” which we rarely bother to read. The only thing separating Facebook & WhatsApp from other applications, is that the former wants to collect our data on an excessive note & they don’t seem to explain why actually.

To accept or not accept WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy, depends on user to user, but it time we should rethink about it and give a little extra attention to “Terms & Conditions” before accepting them with our open, yet closed eyes.

Chetna Singh

A biblomaniac, with utmost love for reading, writing and painting. An asthete and altruistic.

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