Is WhatsApp-ing Still Safe?
Can you hear the death knell echo over the world of online privacy? It’s making way for a new dawn – the rise of data burglars…
“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe is a stringent and robust law protecting privacy and data of its people, unlike India where the Personal Data Protection bill is yet to be enacted into a law” said Dr. Karnika Seth, Cyber law expert and Founding Partner at Seth Associates. The closest India has gotten to form a Data protection law was in 2000, with the Information Technology act. Fast forward to 2019, the Government introduced the Personal Privacy Protection Bill in the parliament which hasn’t seen the light of day and seems to be stuck in Parliamentary procedure and formalities. Present provisions, (namely section 43A and 72A of IT Act) apply only to a limited scope of sensitive personal data with maximum data breach fine of ₹5 Lakhs (€5600). India does not even have a digital privacy legislation to begin with. The government should boost up law enforcements on privacy protection and lay out more penalties, adapting to the data driven world.
Furthermore, the policy also allows businesses to use third-party service providers to store, read and manage your messages and media, thus the messages/media you send to a business will be accessible to a lot of people inside and outside the company. If you as a user, do not wish to chat with any Whatsapp business account, you always have the option to block them on the app right away. Some websites might ask if you want to get important information updates on Whatsapp. You can choose to say no to that option.
As of now, Whatsapp is not being very considerate and appears to be treating its users with an “all or nothing approach”. Whatsapp did introduce end-to-end encryption implementation in messaging applications but new applications with similar interface and better security policies are now widely available in the market. Whatsapp should reconsider the policy or give customers a choice on allowing data sharing to facebook. Otherwise, capitalizing on Whatsapp’s audience for data might do more harm than good to Facebook.