According to the regulator, a thorough and detailed investigation is required to determine the full extent, scope, and impact of data sharing through users’ involuntary consent.
CCI To Investigate WhatsApp LLC And Parent Facebook Inc
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) directed its investigation arm, the director-general (DG), to complete the investigation and submit a report within 60 days. The order against WhatsApp LLC and parent Facebook Inc came after the Commission took suo moto cognisance of the matter on considering media reports and the potential impact of the policy and terms for WhatsApp users and the market.
According to WhatsApp’s submissions, the 2021 update says WhatsApp aims to provide users with more transparency. The update intends to provide users with further transparency of how it collects, uses, and shares data. WhatsApp claims that the update does not expand its ability to share data with Facebook. However such claims would also be examined and scrutinize properly during the investigation by the DG.
According to CCI, users, as the owners of their personalised data, have the right to be informed about the extent, scope, and precise purpose of such information sharing by WhatsApp with other Facebook companies.
CCI said the policy whether the historical data of users would also be shared with Facebook companies and whether data would be shared in respect of those WhatsApp users who are not present on other apps of Facebook.
There appears to be no justifiable reason as to why users should not have any control or say over such cross-product processing of their data by way of voluntary consent, and not as a precondition for availing WhatsApp’s services, it said.
So-Called “End-to-End Encryption” Is Not Safe?
WhatsApp is used by over two billion people worldwide, keeping the messaging platform secure is critical. WhatsApp protects all communication on its platform with end-to-end encryption. These encryption keys not only make decrypting messages impossible, but they also prevent third parties, including WhatsApp, from accessing messages or calls.
“Only you and the person or group you are communicating with can read or see the messages, photos or files you send, or listen to the calls you make,” according to James E. Lee, chief operating officer at Identity Theft Resource Center.
WhatsApp users can customise their privacy settings, including who can see their status and profile. However, keep in mind that not everything you do on the app is confidential.
Such opacity, vagueness and incomplete disclosures hide the actual data cost that a user incurs for availing WhatsApp services, it added.