Does WhatsApp spy on users? You may be wondering if this popular messaging app is spying on you. Since it is part of the Facebook family, it does share certain information with Facebook, including the phone number used to register, the mobile country code, and usage data. While the sharing of data has been around since 2016, users had the option to opt out of the practice.
This policy change has resulted from businesses using WhatsApp chats for marketing purposes.
WhatsApp’s moderators do not tamper with individual messages
If you are worried about your privacy while communicating over messaging systems, WhatsApp has a solution: artificial intelligence. These programs can scan unencrypted data from the app and match it with user information, suspicious account information, messaging patterns and abusive terms. While these programs can’t intercept individual messages, they can still read recent messages. And they can’t read the last five messages that a user has sent in a thread.
According to the ProPublica report, WhatsApp moderators can read individual messages if a user reports a spam message or abusive content. In fact, WhatsApp also provides access to its users’ metadata to a vast ecosystem of data-thirsty apps. This data is passed on to law enforcement agencies and other third parties. The privacy policies of Facebook-owned WhatsApp were intentionally hidden, but a few details are available.
WhatsApp shares metadata with law enforcement
ProPublica has uncovered several cases in which law enforcement has used the data collected through WhatsApp to put people in jail. The news outlet tracked dozens of cases in which the Justice Department obtained a court order that required the application to share user metadata with law enforcement. This type of tracking, also known as pen register orders, is similar to the way landline telephones are tracked, and the vast majority of such requests remain hidden from the public. In the years from 2017 to 2020, requests for such information increased by 276%, according to Facebook Inc.
Despite the high level of privacy that WhatsApp claims to promote, the data it has been providing to law enforcement is not transparent enough for users to understand. While this can help law enforcement with their investigations, it has serious implications for the people the surveillance agencies are targeting. Moreover, the use of such data by whistleblowers, how to hack someone’s phone and journalists may jeopardize the security of their sources. Recently, a Rolling Stone article noted that WhatsApp metadata played a role in Natalie Edwards’ arrest, which is troubling given that she was a journalist with a source-protection obligation.
WhatsApp’s policy on compulsory data sharing caused alarm on social media
In a recent announcement, WhatsApp reminded all users of its new policy on data sharing, but did not create a new one. The new policy comes as Facebook faces multiple antitrust lawsuits alleging abuse of its dominance in the digital marketplace and anticompetitive behavior. But the new policy is not universally bad. It could rile many users. Here’s what happened in response:
The company has hired hundreds of content reviewers and contractors to make sure that their content does not compromise its commitment to privacy. It has not disclosed the number of contractors it had hired, and did not disclose how many. It also did not disclose why it was hiring contractors to review user content. The company reportedly did not disclose why it hired these contractors to make sure the privacy messages are not being leaked. Despite the complaints, however, WhatsApp’s policy on compulsory data sharing has prompted a firestorm on social media.
WhatsApp spy apps protect children’s mental health
With the availability of WhatsApp spy apps, parents are now able to monitor their child’s private conversations without their knowledge. By monitoring their child’s messages and phone calls, parents can keep a check on their children’s behavior online. There is a growing danger of sexting and other types of sexual harassment among teenagers. Fortunately, WhatsApp spy apps can help parents protect their kids from the risk of cyberbullying.
TheWiSpy is one such app. Its features include monitoring incoming and outgoing messages as well as pictures and videos. It also offers a keylogger for monitoring text messages. The software is easy to install on your child’s phone and shares all monitored data with a user account online. By using this app, you can check your child’s messages at any time. There are many other features you can access and monitor with the help of WhatsApp spy apps.