The outcry against WhatsApp is a lot of hullabaloo about nothing

Against WhatsApp

Since late last week there have been a lot of outcry against WhatsApp, and the reason being the updated WhatsApp Privacy Policy – Chief being the requirement that if by February 8th a user hasn’t accepted the new Privacy Policy, then the said user will not be able to continue using the App. Seems a reasonable outcry but no, it is a lot of hullabaloo about nothing.

First, the new updated Privacy Policy aren’t new really, but simply the statement of WhatsApp practices in a formal manner that the user must agree to in order to use the App. The practice of collecting phone numbers has been the cornerstone of WhatsApp since its inception in 2009. Unlike other Apps including Facebook Messenger that can be used without the need of a user’s phone number, WhatsApp exclusively requires a phone number to act like both the username and the password, as the App always authenticate the user by using the phone number.

Other privacy issues that have been cited as worrying are the access to location, and for those who will be using the app for payment services (Facebook has an MPESA like service that operates through WhatsApp), then the payment data will have to been accessed by Facebook (or WhatsApp for that matter). Crying about this is akin to crying about your bank keeping and being able to access your transaction data or crying about Safaricom’s ability to know about your MPESA transactions.

But what seems to have angered many is the fact that if one doesn’t accept the new Privacy Policies, then they will not be allowed to continue using the App, yet this has been the standard industry practice since the inception of the Internet and the world wide web. For example, take a few minutes and attempt creating a Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail account, then when asked to agree with their Privacy Policy or Terms and Conditions, select Cancel, or Don’t Agree, then come back and tell me you were able to use any of those services.

The next issue that seems to vex many is the requirement that going forward WhatsApp will be sharing your data with Facebook. Well, WhatsApp has been sharing your data with Facebook for years now, and it has been made clear since the practice started in 2016. The feeling that WhatsApp is sharing your data with Facebook is another hullabaloo about nothing, and to use examples once more, this is akin to National Bank customers crying out loud that KCB is accessing their banking data… when it is now very clear that there isn’t any difference between National Bank and KCB given that right now KCB fully owns National Bank.

Within the tech industry, asking Facebook to not access WhatsApp data is akin to asking Google not to share your Google Search data, or Gmail data, with YouTube. We all know that Google’s data is so integrated such that your gmail account allows you to access personalized recommendation across all Google owned products that include YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, etc. By being able to access and analyse your data from these cross products, Google is able to send to you targeted ads (ads of products and services you’d prefer to see) and that way be able to make money that’s needed to keep those products and services running. May I remind you that if you do not accept Gmail terms and conditions you’d not be able to use Google Products at a personalised level; heck, you wouldn’t be able to chat on Hangout or Allo for that matter.

So my question to you all is, what’s the fuss about?

Odipo Riaga1802 Posts

Film Director, Tech and Business Blogger, Chess Player, and Photographer. God is Science.


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