By Naadiya Adams – @Miss_Naadiya
The past week has been mired with panic as some two billion WhatsApp users debated over whether or not to delete the app. In truth, the policy does not change much as much of the information we share online is already being recorded and stored.
Renowned social media lawyer, Emma Sadleir, after being inundated with calls and messages regarding the issue, released a video recently detailing exactly what the policy will entail.
She says much of hysteria around the new policy is unfounded as it is not unusual for a company to request that you agree to their terms in order to use their platform.
According to Sadleir much of the panic is due to concern that private messaging content will be made public, which is not the case.
“I think people are freaking out because they have this idea that the big brothers at Facebook, and don’t get me wrong there are a lot of big brothers at Facebook but that they have access to the actual content of our messages which is complete nonsense because WhatsApp, a few years ago, rolled out end-to-end encryption, and they’ve confirmed that despite the new update, that end-to-end encryption will still exist.”
Encryption means that once you send a message from your device, it gets all muddled up and the only person who has the key to decrypt the message is the person the message was sent to. Sadleir says, there is no interception of these messages by Facebook.
What they are able to do however according to Sadleir, is see how frequently you speak to a contact, if your location is visible, they have access to that, they have access to status updates.
“Its not so much that they want to read our messages, they just trying to find out more information about us, about our habits, about our networks.”
Sadleir says that if you’re abandoning Whatsapp, you should abandon Facebook, Messenger and Instagram as well, as they collect a great deal more information than WhatsApp does.
The influx that Telegram has seen is unreal and Sadleir says these other apps will also look for ways to monetize their platforms in the near future, and while you may opt to migrate, your contacts may not.
In the digital age its natural for us to be active online, but there are ways to keep your important information safe from prying eyes.
Online security experts, Kaspersky, recommend the following:
- Don’t download messengers and other programs from third-party sources. Use only official application marketplaces.
- Do not follow suspicious links from messages, even if they were sent to you by your friends.
- If possible, acquaint yourself with the user agreement. There are situations when the developer of the app openly warns that they may share user data with third-parties.
- Use security solutions when possible on your mobile devices.
- Pay attention to which permissions downloaded applications request. If the requested permission is not necessary for the full functioning of the application, then there is a reason to be wary. For example, the flashlight app clearly doesn’t need access to the microphone.
Watch the full video here: