New data protection rules: Whatsapp doesn’t want to lock down users – digital

For WhatsApp users, according to the application providers, at the moment there will be no consequences if they do not accept the new data protection provisions of the chat service. There are currently no plans to restrict the range of functionality for those affected, a spokesperson for the company belonging to Facebook, technology blogs The Next Web and The Verge said. Whatsapp wants to clarify this after consulting with authorities and experts. Instead, these users will receive an update reminder “from time to time”.

The service put the new data protection regulations into effect about two weeks ago. It was said that users who disagreed with the update threatened to gradually lose important functions after a few weeks with warnings. “There are currently no plans to make these reminders permanent or limit the functionality of the application,” he said in Whatsapp’s questions and answers on the new provisions.

According to previous announcements, users are expected to lose access to their mailing list over time. First of all, you should still be able to accept incoming audio and video calls and use notifications to respond to chat messages. Weeks later, Whatsapp would then not send calls or messages to their smartphones, was the company’s now seemingly outdated statement.

Whatsapp had always emphasized that the update did not involve any transfer of additional data to Facebook. The messenger wants to make money with his business customers. It therefore revises the conditions of use and gives companies the possibility of communicating directly with users. The service also amends parts of the privacy policy to clarify how it handles information. But the two biggest fears don’t apply: On the one hand, messages remain end-to-end encrypted, WhatsApp can never see the content. On the other hand, the metadata is shared with the parent company so that Facebook can know who opens the app, when and with whom. In the EU, however, the General Data Protection Regulation prohibits the use of such information for advertising purposes.

Hamburg data protection advocate Johannes Caspar nevertheless stepped in and, as a precautionary measure, issued an order in mid-May banning Facebook from processing German users’ WhatsApp data. It is valid for three months because the Irish data protection authority is responsible for Facebook in Europe. Whatsapp responded that the arrangement was based “on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and consequences of the update.” The developers had already rejected the announcement in January that more data would be shared with the mother. However, the introduction of the new provisions has been postponed for more than three months until May 15 following criticism and user migration.

Whatsapp communicated poorly

One of the reasons for this: According to industry experts, the world’s largest communications service provider was communicating poorly. The original review in the app was poor, the changes weren’t clearly explained anywhere. So far, the information has been spread over several documents, which existed in different versions for the EU and the rest of the world and which sometimes contradicted each other.

Due to the discussion, many people are wondering about the alternatives. In a survey, four in ten respondents in Germany said they had already tried a new service. The most popular alternative option, however, was the messenger from parent company Facebook – which is guaranteed to use usage data for advertising purposes. According to experts, anyone who hasn’t had a problem with WhatsApp so far doesn’t need to change, after all, almost nothing changes. It is not necessarily a matter of concern. Whether with the old or the new terms of use: the data ends up on Facebook.

The most popular WhatsApp alternative that has nothing to do with Facebook is called Telegram – and by default it doesn’t protect messages with end-to-end encryption. Additionally, operators apparently understand through free speech that Nazis, criminals, and violent conspirators are allowed to use the service unhindered.

With Signal and Threema, however, there are secure and privacy-friendly messengers that have also benefited from the confusion of WhatsApp. Where you had to talk to each other or only meet a few convicts, you can now find many people on your contact list.

Related Articles

Back to top button