Data Protection & Privacy

New WhatsApp privacy policy: what if you don’t accept?

The deadline for accepting the new WhatsApp privacy policy is now here. Users will now have to either take it or lose the opportunity to access all of WhatsApp’s major features. WhatsApp has made it clear that users should either accept the policy or stop using the application. If people do not agree to the policy, WhatsApp will not remove the accounts but will gradually limit the features ensuring that the messaging platform is rendered redundant to the user.

Recently, WhatsApp told the High Court of Delhi that if users do not agree to the new privacy policy, they can stop using the app. “Nevertheless we are reassuring consumers, but slowly these accounts will be deleted when they do not accept them. This does not have a universal deadline,” said Kapil Sibal, the lawyer representing WhatsApp.

In reply, however, the Centre said that the app’s new privacy policies breaches the Indian Information Technology (IT) Act 2000. It requested that no the company refrains from making changes to the social media platform at the moment. Solicitor General Chetan Sharma appearing for the Center and said that the Government had written to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp. They were still awaiting a response.

So, what happens if you don’t agree to the new privacy policy?

Access Denied

If you refuse to accept the news privacy policy update, then WhatsApp will continue sending reminders to you at frequent intervals. You will not be able to access the chat list of WhatsApp and can only respond or make inbound voice or video calls.

Then gradually, you will slowly lose access to major features of the messaging platform. WhatsApp will start sending reminders to accept the new policy, and you won’t be able to:

  1. Set the updates in the application
  2. Transmit messages from chat to chat
  3. Manage the broadcast list and use it
  4. Establish new groups
  5. Participants in group chat quotes or tags
  6. Within the app, send voice messages, stickers and other media
  7. Chat history manually backup
  8. Export the history of your chat
  9. Use the service Click to Chat

If you do not accept the privacy policy, after a couple of weeks of limited functionality you will lose access to incoming and outgoing calls. WhatsApp will finally corner you to either accept or leave the platform,.

What if you accept the privacy policy?

Many consumers think it is possible for Facebook to collect more information if they accept the new privacy policy, but that is not the case. You can still use the app to chat with friends and family, call and send voice notes all the while ensuring that the privacy settings are set to the maximum. WhatsApp has clarified that end to end encryption will not be broken for personal chats of users. However, if you have accepted the terms and conditions, the change involves how you interact with business accounts from WhatsApp. Note the use of the term “business accounts”. If you interact with business accounts, only then the new policy will impact you.

WhatsApp has two types of corporate accounts – a regular business account and a special cloud-based corporate account. Chatting with a regular business account is just like talking to friends and family, but when you interact with a ‘special’ business account using cloud providers, you have the chance to use your chat to generate targeted Facebook advertising. What is shared depends also on the privacy policy of the specific business with which you are involved. Once can seek to know the privacy policy of the  business as a precautionary measure by sending a message, before sharing any information. Some business accounts have shady privacy practices, so due care and caution must be exercised.  

These special accounts use chat management and storage tools that you would be able to recognize by a mark at the top of the discussion. Also, if you use Facebook Shop, your data (as you see on the platform) may be shared with Facebook. So it’s good to avoid using that for protecting your privacy.

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Shuvangi Das

Shuvangi is an law undergraduate at Xavier Law School, XIM- Bhubaneswar. She is a woman who is vocal and stands ground for the things she believes in. She keeps a keen interest in criminal law, social issues, and public policy. The dynamic nuances of technology have always driven her to know more of it.

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