The story is below – but this highlights an interesting question about privacy policies and other terms and conditions we’re presented with online …
Time pressures or just being plain bored by small print cause many of us to just click ‘accept’ or ‘agree’ without reading what we’re signing up to, even after UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) rules were put in place precisely because people complained they didn’t know what was being done with their information without their consent.
Think about all those requests to accept or manage cookies on websites we look at too – do we click ‘manage’ or ‘read further information’ – or do we tend to just click ‘Accept Cookies’? Do you always know what you’re accepting?
What did WhatsApp do concerning privacy policies?
This was what caused much upset as people felt they didn’t have much choice but to accept if they wanted to carry on using WhatsApp. Some users have shown their outrage by moving to other messaging services like Telegram and Signal.
Update on the update
Since then, Facebook said European and UK users would NOT see the same data-sharing changes as the rest of the world, although they would need to accept new terms. This all caused much confusion.
Facebook added that: “For the avoidance of any doubt, it is still the case that WhatsApp does not share European region WhatsApp user data with Facebook for the purpose of Facebook using this data to improve its products or advertisements.” This, it clarifies, is to comply with European data protection.
WhatsApp now says people will have until 15th May to agree to new rules, arguing that this gives them time to ‘review the policy at their own pace’. It has also promised to act to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. This included taking out newspaper ads.
In a blog, WhatsApp says: ‘WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It’s why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook.’
WhatsApp says the new policy doesn’t expand its ability to share data with Facebook but provides people with ‘new options to message a business on WhatsApp’. This is targeted at companies hosting their shops on Facebook and communicating with users through WhatsApp.
If you are concerned, it is worth taking the time to look at the privacy policies of both WhatsApp and Facebook.
As providers of IT support in Surrey, London and the surrounding areas, we sometimes report on wider issues like this that could affect your security and data protection. If you have questions about how you can protect your business data, contact us on the form below.