This comes in stark contrast with what the company initially promised back in 2014 during the acquisition by Facebook when WhatsApp assured its goal is to know “as little as possible”.
While users were able to opt out until now, starting February 8, they will have only one solution, if they don’t want their data to be owned by the parent company – uninstall the app and stop using the service.
Some of the info WhatsApp is collecting and will be sharing includes location data, IP addresses, phone model, OS, battery level, signal strength, browser, mobile network, ISP, language, time zone, and even IMEI. There’s also the information about how you are messaging, calling, what groups you are attending, the Status, the profile photo, last time the you were online, etc.
WhatsApp even added a separate section called “Transactions and Payments data” specifying the platform will process additional information even for payments, made through the app. The company claims this is for analytics purposes, although it would provide its unique identifiers to other Facebook Companies.
Mugambi Laibuta, who advises companies on privacy and data Protection, tweeted that Whatspp’s new data rules were against Kenya’s Data Protection Act, 2019. “If you do not accept the new terms, you do not enjoy the service…This goes against the principle of freely given consent,” he tweeted. “Ideally under the Data Protection Act, we have a right to object to the WhatsApp’s actions…WhatsApp wants to use our data for commercial purposes. Under Section 37, they must obtain express consent from us otherwise they are going against the law.”
WhatsApp has defended its new policy saying the data will be used to personalise advertising.
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