As Facebook deals with the improper handling of data in the Cambridge Analytica controversy, experts have raised concerns regarding the data collected by the company’s popular instant messaging service – WhatsApp. The messaging service, which has over 200-million active users in India alone, has come under attack from critics who believe that the service might be collecting more user data than it should.
According to a recent report from PTI, the company has now issued a statement regarding the concerns and claims that it collects “very little data” and every message sent using the service is encrypted end-to-end. The company also said that as opposed to the recent comments in the media, the service doesn’t keep track of the friends and family a user connects with.
In response to a question put up by the PTI, a WhatsApp spokesperson was quoted saying, “The privacy and security of our users are incredibly important to WhatsApp. Invite links are an optional feature available to group administrators to be used only with trusted individuals.”
Vivek Wadhwa, a top American technology entrepreneur and academic, had expressed his concerns about the metadata being collected by the company. He’d said last week, “One-to-one communication between users is encrypted and may be as secure as WhatsApp claims. But the metadata, information about the calls, is likely being mined by the company…WhatsApp has admitted that it is sharing information about identity and device information with Facebook, allowing it to do the dirty work in snooping on users.”
Wadhwa also claimed that the group chat feature offered by WhatsApp puts users at a greater threat than their posts on Facebook as it discloses their phone numbers to all group members. This was based on research shared with him by security scientists in Europe.