WhatsApp’s new privacy policy doesn’t give you a choice – and could limit your options in the future as well

  • WhatsApp’s new privacy policy isn’t just about privacy, it’s about the competition as well.
  • By sharing data with Facebook, regulators fear that the company and its subsidiary will escape any competition that even tries to enter the market.
  • This means that if you want to switch from WhatsApp to another messaging platform in the future, there may not be too many options.

If you want to continue using WhatsApp, you will need to agree to their new privacy policy by May 15th. While you might not care what happens to your data today, you don’t even care that you don’t have a choice.

However, if you change your mind tomorrow, regulators fear that the competition created will be so fierce that there will be no other courier as an alternative. “Established businesses that have access to unique, large, non-replicable datasets can create barriers to entry for competitors by controlling the data and restricting its use and access,” said Neeraj Dubey, a partner from Singh & Associates to Business Insider.

That is why one of Germany’s toughest data regulators is looking for an “immediately enforceable order” before the new terms and conditions come into effect. “It is … all the more important to ensure that the high number of users, which makes the service attractive to people, does not lead to the misuse of the power of data,” Data Commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a report on Tuesday. communicated.

And Germany isn’t the only country worried about what WhatsApp’s new privacy policy will mean for users. The Turkish Data Protection Authority is also leading an ongoing investigation against WhatsApp, as is India’s Competition Commission (ICC).

“The investigation ordered by the ICC is an interesting development and reflects the approach of various global competition law authorities in trying to regulate the non-tariff conduct of digital and data controllers,” said Unnati Agarwal, partner at the firm. Legal IndusLaw, at Business Insider. India.

Where do we draw the line between normal data collection and “excessive” data collection?


WhatsApp and its parent company, Facebook, believe the issue is only about user privacy, which they claim to protect, not the competition. But the huge popularity of the messaging platform is causing regulators to think otherwise.

Besides WhatsApp and Facebook’s “ take it or leave it ” approach, the biggest question surrounding their new policy is: How much data is too much data?

Tech giants believe this is a question only law can answer, not data regulators. But the problem is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to solving the problem. Many industries collect data and use it for analysis, and they all have different benchmarks.

For example, the media uses it to track trends, banks have direct access to entire repositories of customer financial data, healthcare has patient medical records, classrooms are digitized, even the agriculture uses data to optimize food production. Big Data is everywhere.

“The data collected, which could be excessive in one sector, could be qualified as minimal in another sector. For example, the size of a sample of data required in the financial sector versus the health sector would be very different, ”Dubey explains.

According to him, this is why the power to decide what is or is not “excessive” data rests with the ICC and other competition regulators. They can judge on a case-by-case basis where the limit is and whether it distances other market players.

In the case of WhatsApp and Facebook, regulators fear that the majority of user data will be controlled by a few companies and their subsidiaries, resulting in a monopoly that will be difficult to break once in place.

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