Whatsapp Is Spying On Indian Users? Your Chats, Pics Exposed? What’s The Truth?
User Privacy has been an area of contention for a while now. It has grabbed the attention of people all over the world. Citizen bodies are trying to put pressure on private companies and governments alike. Still once in a while, the news of public data breaches keeps on popping up. And this time the news is about a possible double standard operating policy implementation by Whatsapp.
Recently, WhatsApp was hit by a steep fine in the EU for not stating the extent of its user data sharing with Facebook, the messaging giant could be in for more trouble after an investigative report by ProPublica claimed chat content moderation being conducted secretly in the US and other parts of the world.
Is someone looking at your chats, pics?
An extensive report by ProPublica highlighted that WhatsApp has been secretly monitoring chat contents, despite publicly stating that there’s no content moderation policy in place for WhatsApp.
The report claims that the company collects and moderates unencrypted chat data besides metadata of the conversation. This list of data collected includes the names and profile images of a user’s WhatsApp groups, their phone number, profile photo, status message, phone battery level, language and time zone, unique mobile phone ID and IP address, wireless signal strength, smartphone operating system, as well a list of all electronic devices that are connected to the smartphone.
According to the report, WhatsApp complies with requests from some national governments for information about a WhatsApp user’s prospective message pairs or PMPs. With this information, the user’s profile is formed, which is shared with the US, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and India. Other countries might also be involved in some form of sharing of data.
What About End-To-End Encryption?
As per, ProPublica, Whatsapp has teams of contractors around the world that review WhatsApp messages to identify and remove “the worst” abusers. The abusers are identified by reports filed by Whatsapp users themselves or by AI-based monitoring systems.
The updated version of the report clarifies that the company examines only messages from threads that have been reported by users as possibly abusive. It does not break end-to-end encryption.