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WhatsApp clarification on data-sharing unconvincing, says Pakistani digital rights activist

Calls the new WhatsApp policy a 'breach of privacy'

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 12, 2021 | Last Updated: 11 months ago
Posted: Jan 12, 2021 | Last Updated: 11 months ago

Pakistani digital rights activist Nighat Dad has said that WhatsApp’s clarification on its new data-sharing policy isn’t convincing enough.

"WhatsApp became a successful application worldwide because of its 'end-to-end encryptions' and its data protection," Dad said on SAMAA TV show 7se8 Tuesday.

"Since Facebook and WhatsApp merger we have seen the privacy policy being compromised and so is this new policy."

Amid criticism of its new policy to share user data with Facebook, WhatsApp issued the following clarifications Tuesday:

  • WhatsApp cannot see your private messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook
  • WhatsApp does not keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling
  • WhatsApp does not share your contacts with Facebook
  • WhatsApp groups will remain private
  • WhatsApp cannot see your shared location and neither can Facebook.

But Dad, who heads a digital rights group in Pakistan, finds the clarification not so convincing.

Explainer: This is what WhatsApp knows about you

"As per these policies, WhatsApp will share your data with Facebook and its third party in order to customise advertisements," she said on the show.

The new data-sharing rules are a "breach of privacy" for the ones who do not have Facebook accounts but use WhatsApp, the activist explained.

"If you're on Facebook and WhatsApp, you have already shared your data with the company," she told anchorperson Kiran Naz.

On Sunday, Pakistan’s Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the government was working on introducing “a strong data protection law to protect citizens’ privacy”.

A Turkish watchdog has been probing WhatsApp over the new terms. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s media office says it is quitting the messaging app.
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WhatsApp, Facebook, Pakistan, Nighat Dad, digital rights activist, Turkey, Erdogan

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