13. 1. 2021

WhatsApp will share sensitive information

The popular app WhatsApp will share sensitive information with Facebook. A wave of criticism arose.

The company, in other words the app WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, has been widely criticized in recent days after informing its 2 billion users that they must agree to share their data with the social network if they want to continue using the app.

It was WhatsApp, that during its launch in 2009, lured users to their free services that shall  never be shared with a third party. Today, at a time when Facebook is embroiled in two antitrust lawsuits filed by dozens of states and the federal government, and is facing growing user distrust, comes the information that WhatsApp will share sensitive information with Facebook.

“In practice, this means that if you agree with WhatsApp’s new rules, you also agree to share all your personal or professional information with Facebook,” said Vladimír Palečka, cybersecurity expert at Aliter Technologies.

Although WhatsApp is encrypted, the application collects metadata about conversations. In the privacy policy, the company explains what they collect. WhatsApp categorizes the information it collects into three categories, namely:

1.) information provided by the user,

2.) information that it collects automatically,

3.) information provided by third parties.

To simply put this, if you agree to share data on WhatsApp and therefore on Facebook, you will upload the following data:

  • your account information
  • your messages
  • your connections
  • customer support
  • transaction information
  • device and connection information

Thus, it is clear that WhatsApp collects information about its users that could provide insight into rules, connections, conversation participants, frequency, and even geolocation data. Some of this data could be classified as metadata, and some of it is, frankly, just non-personal data, but valuable data nonetheless.

“However, there is only a limited defense. The first step is to disagree with the new rules. In this case, the existence of your account will not expire, you will just not be able to use your account for communication and continue to use the WhatsApp services, ”adds Vladimír Palečka.

If you can’t do without similar services, it is possible to use another – similar application, which also has an encrypted connection, various other forms of communication security and does not share data with third parties. The safest applications are for example, Signal, Threema or Telegram and as another alternative, Viber is also popular.