Privacy Policies, Chat Applications & You

What is a Privacy Policy ?

Privacy policy is a document published by party / platform that describes …

  • How they collect user data ?
  • What user data do they collect ?
  • Why do they collect data ?
  • How they are going to use it ?

Every blog, website, mobile apps, SaaS applications need to disclose their privacy policy. like we have at :
ITbulls Privacy Policy

Now-a-days, people are concerned mostly about the privacy policies of chat applications due to some recent events.

Recent Events that triggered concerns about Privacy Policies

privacy policy & recent events
WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy Updates

Recently, WhatsApp tried to update their privacy policy which was actually about “WhatsApp with Business”. This is what new policy meant :

” All the WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted. That means they can only be read by sender and receiver.

However, if a business choose a third-party hosting service (like Facebook), then the 3rd party can read those conversations.

This is completely optional for businesses. If a business sets Facebook as their hosting service, only then, Facebook will be able to read conversations like any other 3rd party hosting service. “

But, the policy got misunderstood and there was quite a rage about this changes, therefore, WhatsApp decided to postpone the said update.

Elon Musk tweets “Use Signal”

Just after the WhatsApp privacy policy update, Elon musk tweeted “Use Signal”. Signal is another chat application build by former WhatsApp owner. After this tweet, many people moved from WhatsApp to Signal and other chat applications.

Last year : Bollywood Celebrities’ chat leaks

Many people believe that WhatsApp have access to the private and group chats. Therefore, if asked by government, WhatsApp can reveal those chats at any point of time. Because last year, WhatsApp chats of many celebrities (i.e. Deepika Padukone) got leaked.

On which, WhatsApp clarified that : Chats can be backed up on cloud storage like Google Drive, i Cloud or other platforms. In those cases, chats are stored on cloud without encryption. Therefore, authorities can access such chats by cloning the person’s device.

How does this concern you ?

As a user of one or more chat applications …

  • You should just once check out the privacy policy of the platforms you are using. Make sure, you choose correct platform according to your usage and sensitivity of information.
  • Also, keep a check on all the permissions you are giving to your mobile chat applications.

Chat Applications and their policies

Let us compare the policies of most known chat based applications !

WhatsAppSignalTelegram
End-to-End Encryption (E2E)
Encryption method where only sender and receiver can read the data
YesYesTelegram support E2E in only one-to-one conversation, that is only when secret chat feature is enabled.
Encryption Protocol
Algorithm used for Encryption
Signal Protocol : It is an open source protocol, therefore, trustworthySignal Protocol : It is an open source protocol, therefore, trustworthyMTProto (Proprietary Protocol)
Encryption Supported On WhatsApp encrypts data on all the platforms : Desktop, Web & Mobile AppSignal encrypts data on all the platforms : Desktop & Mobile AppTelegram does not support E2E on desktop client (except macSO)
Metadata Encryption
Details about when and to whom messages were sent
NoYesNo
Backup EncryptedNoYesNo
Privacy Policy LinkWhatsAppSignalTelegram

Conclusion

If you have serious security concerns you then you should use platforms like Signal who are following through encryption, even in the backups.

If you have a normal usage and you are more keen about the features, WhatsApp is still the best choice for you.

Choose Wisely ! Also let us know what is your favourite chat application ?

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