WhatsApp is a popular instant messaging platform which has over 200 million active users in India. The company is owned by Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg was left red-faced when reports of a data breach emerged. Recently experts have begun wondering about some provisions of WhatsApp’s user agreement which sound dodgy.
The provisions allow WhatsApp to go ahead with some wrongdoings completely unchallenged. The popular messaging app has over a billion users worldwide and is one of the most popular messaging apps in India. The company was taken over by Facebook in 2014.
Speaking to PTI, Vivek Wadhwa, a top American technology academic said, "One-to-one communication between users is encrypted and may be as secure as WhatsApp claims. But the metadata, information about the calls, is likely being mined by the company."
WhatsApp admitted to sharing information about the identity and device information with Facebook. According to Wadhwa, it allows Facebook to “do the dirty work in snooping on users.”
Wadhwa believes that WhatsApp’s group chat feature allows any group member to mine data, just like Cambridge Analytica. It also reveals phone numbers which can result in people being harassed off the platform. Any member of a group can record conversations on the group, from the time they enter it.
WhatsApp is reportedly sending device details to Facebook and at the same time, telling authorities that it cannot decrypt conversations. A New York-based attorney, Ravi Batra said that WhatsApp is free but it makes money by selling user data and using it in conjunction with other parties including Facebook.