WhatsApp claims you shouldn’t care about Facebook posting your personal details. Experts advise you to switch to a ‘highly trusted’ Signal App
The new Facebook data sharing policy of WhatsApp worried many of its customers.
We were advised by experts that while the app does not exchange message material, it shares who, where, and when you talk to users.
They all suggested that users move to a smaller encrypted message app, Signal App because it is “highly trusted.”
Following a change in its terms of service, WhatsApp on Monday explained that the current approach would not compromise the protection of the communications from people to friends or relatives.
Next month the Messager software, which is being sold as a privacy-oriented tool, will compel its customers to accept that their WhatsApp personal details, including phone numbers and locations, will be stored on Facebook and its subsidiaries.
If the updated terms and conditions are not agreed upon by consumers by February 8th, they cannot launch the app.
In a statement on Monday, WhatsApp said it was involved in discussing “rumours going around,” the policy change effective 8 February said, “does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way.”
This then led to the rivals of WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram, which saw millions of customers flock to their applications. On Wednesday, they entered Google and Apple’s app stores at the number one spot, and Signal received a one tweet approval from Elon Musk: “Use Signal.”
So, do WhatsApp users think about these recent improvements in privacy?
Insider has been advised by analysts that WhatsApp does not exchange messages’ content once they are decrypted. But the software will be able to view information – i.e. who, where, and from where.
The possibility that WhatsApp shares some form of personal data with Facebook is claimed by Alan Woodward, a computer scientist at the University of Surrey, Insider. “Facebook openly says that their business model is to use data related to users for profit.” Woodward, who tends to use signal instead of WhatsApp, said he was surprised to see the news after Facebook said it wouldn’t.
Instead of its fan base, people can only stick to WhatsApp
Though those with an interest in privacy will most likely use applications such as Signal, Woodward thinks that “there is a large enough cadre of WhatsApp users that one is probably going to have to continue to use it to stay in touch with them.”
He also believes that people will stick with WhatsApp because they “accept the social contract with Facebook that they can use the platform as long as they share data in return for it being free.”
Prof. Eerke Boiten, Director, Cyber Technology Institute, De Montfort University, Leicester, told Insider that “the worst thing WhatsApp has done.”
Perhaps a lot of people were rubbed in the wrong direction, he said.
WhatsApp’s assurance that only the messages sent to the company accounts will be compromised is “potentially a more limited privacy violation,” according to Boiten. But whether Facebook “keep control of this access method.” depends.
Boiten said he expects data, especially contacts and communication metadata, to be exchanged “whenever and wherever [Facebook and WhatsApp] can get away with it.”
The Signal App is ‘trustworthy’
Boiten and Woodward also said they would suggest that consumers move to better, alternate messaging applications. “Signal is highly trusted,” said Boiten, adding that Telegram has “upped its game” in the field of encryption.
Wolfie Christl, a Cracked Labs researcher, and privacy defender, also join the WhatsApp critic chorus who advises that users move to Signal. He claims that the software is “run by a nonprofit organization and its source code is publicly available for people to examine.”
The week from 4 January Signal got 7.5 million downloads, a rise of 4,200 percent over the last week. Telegram had 9 million downloads, up 91%.
“The more people join such services, the safer people who really need to have such services become,” said Boiten.