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Users under Facebook surveillance? PH privacy body flags WhatsApp’s new data policy

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has raised flags over the new privacy policies released by messaging platform WhatsApp, saying Facebook could take advantage of users’ data for surveillance.

NPC listed in a statement the various security concerns associated with the changes in WhatsApp’s policies. These include:
1. Involving third parties in operating the service
2. Being provided ”as is” and to be used at the users’ sole risk
3. Having authority to delete your account without prior notice or a reason
4. Makes no warranty regarding uninterrupted, timely, secure or error-free service
5. Uses your personal data for advertising
6. May use tracking pixels, web beacons, browser fingerprinting, and/or device fingerprinting on users.
7. May use your personal information for marketing purposes
8. Can or otherwise transfer your personal data as part of a bankruptcy proceeding or other type of financial transaction.
9. Forces users into binding arbitration in the case of disputes
10. Keeps user logs for an undefined period of time
11. Gathers information about you through third parties

Another concern would be handing over the WhatsApp data to Facebook, which has figured in data privacy breaches in the past.

“Ultimately, we hope to help data subjects choose the best platforms that guarantee their security when communicating digitally,” the NPC said.

“Pending the result of our discussions, we encourage the public to prepare backing up their data stored in WhatsApp in case moving to a different platform turns out to be the more prudent choice,” it added.

NPC said WhatsApp’s security firewall is not open for third-party inspection so they can only take the company’s word for it that end-to-end encryption is strictly enforced.

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