It also said if the terms and conditions are not accepted then the services of the instant messaging app would be blocked after February 8. As a result, many users have decided to shift to other rival platforms such as Telegram and Signal.
Though, after all the confusion that was created, the WhatsApp policy has now been put on hold till May 15.
Highlights of the new WhatsApp Policy: What a common man feels
My family used to own a saree shop. So, it was not unusual for me to be in a shop on the weekends to sell sarees. I used to be a decent salesman at a very young age and my USP used to be the quick analysis of the purchasing group. In a span of 15 minutes the socio-economic background of the family, family dynamics, and their choice set could be identified.
That was a long time back. Now we have a smartphone that stays in our pocket for almost 14 hours a day and an average person uses it for 3.5 hours. Out of which 2.25 hours goes into browsing various social media handles.
So, just imagine the extent these AI backed social media platforms will know about you or me, most probably much better than even our closest family members.
What we presume to be a free service from Google, Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp is a refined barter system. Where we compromise our identity, give up our details, choices, locations and much more to chat, interact and identify service providers for any of our needs.
This is exactly the information marketers are looking for.
My searches, my needs and an unending set of product offerings peeping and popping in my newsfeeds, search engines and each and everything that I might desire or search for.
Recent controversies about new WhatsApp terms and conditions are no different. They asked people to either agree to the services not being available from February 8. In face of furore and debate while our Govt has taken note of the changes, implementation of the policy has been postponed till May.
Highlights of the new WhatsApp Policy explained
However, most of us have already clicked the “Agree” button. And these are the highlights of the new WhatsApp policy along with all the key points.
Renewed emphasis and clear communication that WhatsApp is now a Facebook Group of companies. This basically indicated that our chat habits and data will no longer be only restricted to WhatsApp but may be used by all Facebook groups of companies. This is the major bone of contention that we are talking about. (They became group companies in 2014).
Ref terms “…As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings… and…Facebook and the other companies in the Facebook family also may use information from us to improve your experiences within their services such as making product suggestions (for example, of friends or connections, or of interesting content) and showing relevant offers and ads. However, your WhatsApp messages will not be shared on Facebook for others to see. In fact, Facebook will not use your WhatsApp messages for any purpose other than to assist us in operating and providing our Services…”
Your information is encrypted and it is not stored in any of the databases. It’s stored in servers till such time it’s delivered up to 30 days. If a message is not delivered within stipulated time, it is deleted from servers. However, cooperation with law enforcement agencies is to the extent of various jurisdictions.
WhatsApp doesn’t intend to show any third party advertisement in near term but that cannot be said for long term usage.
If at all they decide to do it they will update their terms and conditions in future.
Collection of information is up to users who may approach the company with complaints and share details of grievances including messages.
Automatically collected information includes usage and log information, transactional information for payment of services, device and connection information and cookies.
Cookies are text files with small pieces of data — like a username and password — that are used to identify your computer as you use a computer network. Specific cookies known as HTTP cookies are used to identify specific users and improve your web browsing experience and also store status information regarding our online “Status Messages”.
Third Party Information
Most probably where there’s some grey area about information usage. Information about us may be collected from third party sources.
Third party providers and third-party services.
In today’s context the boundaries of third-party intrusion are difficult to demarcate.
Although the terms and what it may imply might sound scary, however this is not the first time nor the last that such an attempt has happened from any platform.
We are already subjected to intense profiling by various websites and data tools.
And it’s not easy to give up conveniences which are offered by the modern barter.
The minimum we can do is to be more vigilant with respect to our own habits of browsing, the way we communicate to our peers and friends and be responsible for what we were forwarding and clicking. After all, a medium is just a medium, the content is our responsibility, what we give up or give in, is our choice. Few basic cautions will go a long way in keeping us safe. A little caution will not only make us better leverage technology but also keep our personal domain out of prying eyes.
Written By Suman Chakraborty