WhatsApp Privacy Concerns Return

PowerKee’s Bastion of Privacy #21

Whatsapp has come under fresh scrutiny with the detection of new privacy vulnerabilities. In response, India’s cybersecurity agency CERT-In has cautioned users by warning that such vulnerabilities could lead to a breach of sensitive information.

According to the advisory issued by CERT-In, the threat only affects older versions of the application. These include versions for Android before v2.21.4.18 and versions for iOS before v2.21.32.

In the latest Bastion of privacy, we detail WhatsApp’s murky relationship with data privacy. We also highlight how PowerKee is one of the few options for those wishing to secure and anonymize their financial transactions.

In terms of development we’ll demonstrate live transactions on our mainnet to our community starting early next week. We’re building, solving and shipping, exciting times ahead.

Brazil Rejects WhatsApp New Policy

With over 2 billion users, WhatsApp is ranked as the most used mobile messenger app in the world. Every day, over one billion messages are exchanged across the messaging app. In India alone, there are over 340 million users, making it the apps biggest national market.

(Source: Statista.com)

Brazil, ranked second in terms of WhatsApp users, has also launched a motion to scrutinize the messaging app over recent adjustments. Brazil’s 99 million users put it in the second position, ahead of the United States with 68.1 million.

The concern in Brazil is around a planned privacy update that will allow Facebook to aggregate users’ data across all of its platforms. We detailed this development in a previous Bastion of Privacy release.

The consumer rights non-profit organization IDEC has requested joint action with two Brazilian government agencies to act against WhatsApp’s new privacy policy. IDEC has reached out to both the Brazilian National Data Protection Authority and the Federal Prosecution Service.

WhatsApp Persists With New Policy

Protests also took place in India. One of the major reasons for the resistance was that the types of sensitive personal data the new policy intended to collect were not specified. The protest led to the suspension of the rollout which was originally planned for February 8th, 2021, to a later date. It also led to a surge in downloads of privacy-focused messengers like Signal and Telegram.

The new date for the implementation of WhatsApp’s policy update is set at May 15th, 2021. Unless the resistant groups succeed in stopping or delaying the move any further, the private data of over 2 billion users will be subject to increased exposure.

The handling of user data by big corporations has become an issue of significant concern. In last week’s release, we highlighted how Facebook was projected to make $94 billion from advertisements that are targeted based on users data. In multiple jurisdictions, there is new or developing legislation to prevent the unauthorized use of consumer data.

The legislative approach seeks to improve the frameworks surrounding how corporations handle user data. However, there are often significant deviations between jurisdictions and users are typically left overexposed.

Staying Safe From Exposure

Concerns about WhatsApp’s new privacy policy is not restricted to just India and Brazil. Earlier this year, a universal protest across various social media platforms saw users campaigning for a shift towards competing platforms like Telegram and Signal.

Many users do not seem comfortable sharing their data across Facebook-owned platforms due to both security issues and how Facebook may use the data. Sharing data across Facebook-owned platforms would likely cause an increase in targeted advertisements and more addictive social media feeds.

Although there have been protests and ongoing litigations, it is likely that WhatsApp will go ahead and implement their new policy. There are dwindling options for netizens to maintain control of their data. When it comes to payments, privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like PowerKee are one of the few options where netizens can anonymize their activity.

About PowerKee

PowerKee is a cryptocurrency network that makes privacy easy. Users can transact cheaply and instantly while maintaining anonymity. The PowerKee protocol uses a mixture of zero-knowledge proofs and coin mixing to provide strong privacy assurances to its users.

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