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WhatsApp’s new privacy rules and comparison with Signal and Telegram


Facebook notified the 2 billion customers of Whatsapp to let them know that there is an update in the privacy policy. The fact that it has to be accepted or users cannot use WhatsApp seems to have irked most. Unless users accept it, they cannot use WhatsApp from Feb 8, 2021. Moreover, the lack of clarification from the brand and the insistence of several personalities to boycott it have raised alarm.

While WhatsApp re-asserts the need for the privacy policy for better integration with other Facebook companies, most are not convinced. There is an overall confusion that has led to an abnormal hike in the downloading of Signal and Telegram in the last few days.

As per the latest privacy policy update of WhatsApp, It wants to reserve the right in sharing the data from the users to the broader network of Facebook. It is more in line with monetizing WhatsApp. The data that WhatsApp can now share includes IP addresses, phone numbers, payments made, etc. However, distrust of Facebook seems to have poured over the messaging platform.

People failed to understand that the policy terms were only for the business chats and not the personal ones. The main aim of this new policy was to leverage it and earn money via targeted ads. With the instant backlash and severe disapproval, Facebook is on the offensive, trying to calm the seemingly precarious situation.

While people raged and displayed irritation over WhatsApp’s latest antics, Telegram and Signal got the sweet end of the deal. Comparing the security and privacy features of WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram gave us some crucial information.

The security features of WhatsApp are incredible. It offers end-to-end encryption and only holds the messages for the time it takes for the delivery. Then, the servers delete the messages. However, there is one major weakness. The cloud backup feature of WhatsApp is shaky. It either gets stored on Apple’s or Google’s servers. Then, the users have no option but to trust the encryption protocol of the server.

Signal uses the same end-to-end encryption protocol that WhatsApp uses. However, Telegram has a different approach. There is no end-to-end encryption protocol here. But, there is an option for secret chats. Telegram uses its customized encryption algorithm, and messages remain stored in its servers.

Signal has been endorsed by Elon Musk tweeted that a lot of people have asked them how to move their group chats from other apps to Signal. The app’s bio on Twitter reads, “Say ‘hello’ to privacy”. “A lot of people have been asking how to move their group chats from other apps to Signal, and Signal group links are a great way to get started. Drop a group link into your former chat app of choice like you’re dropping the mic on the way out,” it said.

So, when it comes to privacy, WhatsApp is the weakest of all. It shares numerous information of the users while Telegram and Signal share none to only a few bits.

When it comes to personal identification, Signal does not accumulate any information. Telegram collects only the basics like User ID, name, phone number, and contacts for efficient functionality. But, the information received by WhatsApp is bound to startle all. It shares contacts, device ID, User ID, email address, phone number. This is not the end; the messaging platform also shares purchase history, advertising data, other related user content, crash data, product interaction, performance data, etc. It is this invasive nature of data collection and the exhaustive need of Facebook to collect more and more data that is causing this outrage.

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