While user privacy on internet has always been a key concern for many, it has now become a cause of worry after the disclosure of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Even more because Facebook users were the biggest victims of the alleged data leak.
While Facebook is still facing scrutiny for the data leak, reports of WhatsApp sharing user data with Facebook have surfaced. Going through the terms and services of WhatsApp, we learnt that the messaging app is collecting a fair amount of user data and sharing some of it with Facebook.
Recently, a company representative told PTI, “WhatsApp collects very little data and every message is end-to-end encrypted. Contrary to recent comments in the media, we are not keeping track of the friends and family you have messaged.” That means, the conversation should remain private, but information like whom you’re talking to, when and how often can still be harvested.
Most recently, WhatsApp rolled out UPI payment support on its platform in India, which allows users to send money to a Virtual Payment Address (VPA) linked to user’s bank account. While you are sending money via WhatsApp, in the background, the information is being sent to PSPs (Payment Service Providers) and then processed via UPI after authenticating.
When you make a payment, you are giving out transaction information about the amount, time and date, frequency and receiver’s VPA. And as per WhatsApp terms the information gathered is shared with third-party service providers including its parent company Facebook.
It’s not obligatory that the data shared with Facebook will always be misused, but it is still a concern that shouldn’t be ignored. Cambridge Analytica scandal is just one case, learning from which, we must care about where and how is our privacy being compromised and how to keep it safe.