The policy reflects Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of interoperability which aims at building WhatsApp's deeper integration into Facebook's other companies such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram. The speculations and concerns regarding the new changes in the policy have raised a number of questions. WhatsApp has been sharing data with Facebook in the past as well but there was an option to disable it. With the new terms and conditions, the user has no control over data sharing. Collection of IP address, transactions, and payments data may possess a threat to the privacy of the user. Facebook has defended its move by claiming that the data is collected to ensure better security and improve user experience. WhatsApp has been advertisement-free for years and with the current policy, it seems to continue it. But the data shared with Facebook may be used to operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market their services, including when the users install, access, or use their services.
WhatsApp has more than 50 million business accounts. The content shared with a business on the application will be visible to several people connected with that business. It implies that if the company has employed a third-party service provider to help manage its communication, the data is exposed to that service provider as well. Sensitive information, such as transaction details, is shared in business chats. Data leaked from the companies’ end could land the users in trouble.
According to Cyber Law & Cyber Security Expert and advocate Prashant Mali, most people in India are not sensitive towards securing their personal information such as IP address, phone number etc. People should be made aware of digital privacy and its importance. India needs a strong cyber law such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented in the European Union member states and the European economic area. The Indian government should stress on data localisation. Data should be stored in Indian cyber boundaries.
"Most of the applications ask for location and hardware permissions. WhatsApp is no exception. As it is an advertisement-free platform it uses user’s information for revenue generation," says Rohit Yadav, a software engineer.