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Is Whatsapp collecting data? What type of data Whatsapp collects

Almost every app requires a certain set of data from its users in order to serve features to them, WhatsApp is also one of them. There is some information that WhatsApp is required to collect from its users, that’s not for their own use but to provide the best of a feature to them.

Whatsapp privacy is one of the major concerns people had in the past, there were some questions rose regarding the Whastapp privacy. Many people were asking that Is our data safe on WhatsApp?. Whatsapp data policy is so simply determined by Whatsapp that they do not use user’s data for any different purpose. Whatsapp Data Policy was false interpreted by some people claiming that whatsapp collects data for different purpose.

There is a certain type of data that Whatsapp collects from users but they all are depending upon the services we are using on Whatsapp. For Example to create a Whatsapp account, we need to provide them with our phone number. It comes under primary information, without which you cannot proceed further on whatsapp.

Then there is some information which is not primary, we can still use whatsapp without granting them to WhatsApp, for example if you don’t give access to camera you just won’t be able to use camera on WhatsApp. Similarly if you don’t give whatsapp your location access then you won’t be able to share your location on Whatsapp.

If we categorize the type of data that is collected by WhatsApp, we can have 3 different categories:

  1. Information that we Provide.
  2. Automatically Collected Information.
  3. Information Collected from a third-party source.

Information that We Provide:

Primary: I already have mentioned a type of data that is primary or you can say necessary to provide in order to move forward to using a Whatsapp account for example your number and profile name. There is some additional information you can provide to Whatsapp like your bio and profile picture.

Messages: WhatsApp temporarily saves the message you send to anyone on WhatsApp, that’s because when you send a message to your contact, Whatsapp saves it to whatsapp servers until it is properly delivered to the receiver. The message is saved in an encrypted form on Whatsapp servers.

When a user forwards a media to someone, WhatsApp temporarily stores it in encrypted form on its server. It means that your messages are protected with end-to-end encryption and cannot be seen by any third party or Whatsapp itself.

Contacts: Whatsapp asks you for permission before importing your contacts only those who are identified to be a whatsapp user.

Debit and Credit Data: Whatsapp introduces its payment services in some regions, people who are using whatsapp payment service, the payment company ask for additional information to process your payment further.

Information Required at the time of Customer Support: When you contact Whatsapp chats support, they ask you for a certain information required to understand your problem more accurately, also your email address to get back to you.

Automatically Collected data:

Automatically collected data doesn’t indicate that your data will be collected without your consent but you will see a pop-up everytime they require a certain information about you. If you deny the permission then they won’t access your information.

Logs and Usage: Whatsapp does keep the track of what you are using on whatsapp, when you are online on whatsapp and when you’re offline. They all monitor these to improve their user experience. The other thing is logs, which tells whatsapp about the app performance( like: is the app crashing somewhere, if it is then where?).  

Device and Connection information: Whatsapp collects your device and connection information such as IP Address, battery percentage, app version, os, model, manufacturer etc. It helps whatsapp to verify whether you are logged into the same(current) device or different one. If someone else login to your whatsapp account on a different device, you will instantly receive notification on your phone.

Location Information: Your precise location is needed only when you want your current location to anyone on WhatsApp. That too with your permission. There are many types of location you can send to your contact including, location you share, location other person have shared with you and nearby locations.

Cookies: Just like every other web application, whatsapp also collects cookies data from you in order to provide you with functionality that is hosted on the web (like whatsapp web and whatsapp desktop).

Third-Party Information:

Third-Party is generally a thing which is received by an indirect source, similar is the case with this one. There are following sources, via which whatsapp received your information:

Information gathered from others: Whatsapp takes information from other users’ contact books like your number and name etc. Remember anyone can send whatsapp any information related to you as Stated by Whatsapp it self in their privacy policy:

“You should keep in mind that in general any user can capture screenshots of your chats or messages or make recordings of your calls with them and send them to WhatsApp or anyone else, or post them on another platform.”

Reports: Whatsapp receives your info if another user reports you to whatsapp with a screenshot or another chunk of information, when a person is reported, whatsapp collects information about both as it is part of the process.

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Written by Umair Malik

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