In September, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) fined WhatsApp € 225 million.

This is the second largest fine in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The DPC accuses the platform of having violated the transparency obligations provided for by the EU regulation in terms of providing information to users and non-users of its service.

The main concern was the sharing of user data, especially with WhatsApp's parent company.

An update rather than a fine

In response, WhatsApp appealed the fine, calling it "disproportionate".

The platform believes that it has provided the required information to users.

However, the messaging service informed that it has updated its privacy policy with additional information.

This new policy came into effect on November 22.

"We know that privacy is a priority for our users, and we want to be very clear: this update doesn't change the way we operate, and nothing changes the way we use your data or with whom we share them, including with Meta, ”said WhatsApp.

Encrypted conversations

Users will be able to see a notification banner appear in the app.

They can click on it for more information about the changes, but they won't have to take any action to continue using the service.

The conversations of the messaging application are encrypted.

Simply put, WhatsApp doesn't read, listen to, or mine their content.

“As always, we cannot read or listen to your personal conversations as they are end-to-end encrypted.

That will never change, insists the platform.

We've added more details about what data we collect and use, why we store it, when we delete it, and what services third parties provide to us.

"

The data collected

The data collected is technical metadata. Among them, the telephone number, the hours of connection, the frequency and duration of the exchanges, the names and descriptions of the discussion groups and their date of creation, the connection information, the strength of the Internet signal, the model of the smartphone. , the operating system, the battery level, the version of the application, the "about" section, the list of contacts, the profile picture and an approximate geolocation thanks to the IP address.

In addition to details on the data collected, the platform also offers more transparency about the services provided by third parties, why it shares data across borders and how it protects it.

For example, some of the data, such as the telephone number, can be exchanged with telecom operators.

This is particularly the case in the United States, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

WhatsApp also transmits technical information, such as the IP address, to police forces as part of legal requisitions.

WhatsApp also cites the legal bases it relies on for processing user data.

Exchanges with Facebook

Another point of clarification, advertising on Facebook. On the social network, the ads may contain a button to send a message to a company directly through WhatsApp. Thus, if the user has installed WhatsApp on his phone, he will be able to contact the company in one click. “Facebook can use the way you interact with these ads to personalize the ads you see on Facebook,” says WhatsApp.

Some large companies need to use hosting services to manage their communications. To meet this need, Facebook offers them to use its secure hosting services to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions and send useful information like purchase receipts. “But whether you're communicating with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, they can see what you're saying and use that information for marketing purposes, including advertising on Facebook,” the service explains. messaging.

WhatsApp says its service clearly labels conversations with businesses that choose to use Facebook's hosting services.

The purpose of this tablet is to inform the user that he is in a commercial exchange.

Only in europe

This new information only appears in the European version of the privacy policy.

The version for users in the United States and the rest of the world is different.

The Irish DPC is the leading data privacy watchdog in Europe for WhatsApp.

Meta has its European headquarters in Dublin.

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