hiddenSep 15, 2016 11:51:39 IST
By Asheeta Regidi
The Delhi High Court has asked WhatsApp to file a short affidavit before 20 September explaining the factual position.
WhatsApp can share any information with anyone
As explained in an earlier article, WhatsApp has taken permission from users to collect a very wide range of data. This ranges from user phone numbers, contact lists, profile pictures, status messages, emails, location information, device data, webpages shared using Whatsapp, etc. This means that while WhatsApp claims that it collects user names and contact numbers, it is taking permission from users to collect a lot more data. Moreover, any of this information can be shared with not just Facebook, but also any of its affiliated companies and third party providers. In effect, while WhatsApp claims to be sharing very little information only with Facebook, it is taking permission to share any information with anyone.
Facebook can use your WhatsApp Messages
For example, the policy states that ‘…your WhatsApp messages will not be shared onto Facebook for others to see’, indicating that messages can still be shared ‘with’ Facebook, only it won’t be shared publicly ‘on’ Facebook. The statement goes on to say ‘In fact, Facebook will not use your WhatsApp messages for any purpose other than to assist us in operating and providing our Services …’ Clearly, Facebook can use your WhatsApp messages to assist in operating and providing services.
Other faults can be found, such as the claim that WhatsApp does not ‘retain user messages in the ‘ordinary course’ of providing services’, which means that under special circumstances, user messages can be retained. Yet another statement says that WhatsApp retains popular media files being shared repeatedly, like videos and pictures. If WhatsApp can identify and retain such files, this obviously indicates that at some level, WhatsApp is aware of the actual content being shared by its users while messaging.
WhatsApp needs to clear its stance on privacy
The author is a lawyer with a specialisation in cyber laws and has co-authored books on the subject.
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