Whatsapp cannot access or see your messages, they are End to End Encrypted, that means only the sender and the receiver can see or read the plain text form of the message. Whatsapp Uses The Signal Protocol designed by Open Whisper Systems to encrypt their Messages (Encryption Protocol From the Signal App).
The news of Whatsapp updating their terms and conditions have caused quite a controversy and tons of people switching from Whatsapp to a more secure solution like The Signal Messenger which is an open-source non-profit messaging app which offers better encryption and privacy.
Here are the list of information collected by Whatsapp
- Your Account Info – Profile Picture, Mobile Number, Name, About
- Undelivered/Forwarded Messages (Encrypted) – Frequently forwarded and Undelivered Messages are kept for 30 days, these messages are not in plain text form
- Your Contacts – All the saved contacts in your phone
- Status – Text or Media Status
- Transactions And Payments Data – UPI and Payments data from Whatsaap Pay
- Usage And Log – When you are offline/online, When about is updated, the time you use the app.
- Location Information – Accurate/Approximate Location
- Businesses On WhatsApp – Business can share your messages with them to a third party
- Third-Party Service Providers – Share the above-collected data with Facebook and other third parties
Even though Collecting these data by Whatsapp means less privacy, the recent controversy regarding Whatsapp is entirely based on some myths and rumours floating around about Whatsapp. As Whatsapp is a closed source app we can’t be 100% sure what happens behind the app.
So the conclusion is that Whatsapp is as safe as it was before, as they are not intercepting our messages and are end to end encrypted by their claims.
But if you are extremely cautious about privacy and don’t want Facebook collecting these data you can switch to an open source solution, Namely Signal.
Why Use Signal, How is it Better From Whatsapp
Signal is an open-source encrypted messaging platform that is available on Windows, Mac, Android, IOS. As the app is open source the entire code and working of the app is publicly available on Github, This means there is transparency in the privacy of the service and the tech community from across the globe can see the source code and report any problems or any privacy violations to the community.
Signal has other privacy feature that Whatsapp lacks such as Screen Security, Disappearing Messages, Encrypted Chat backup and is completely secure. Even the Whistle Blower Edward Snowden has recommended signal messenger as it is secure.
If you are this concerned about your privacy, just enquire how much data your android phone collects and sends to google and how much data your Instagram and Facebook apps collect. Warning: you might throw your phone away 😉