Joining the hoard of tech giants that have updated their privacy policies/ platform to meet EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines, WhatsApp has today made its data download tool available to Android beta users.
As mandated by GDPR, WhatsApp now allows you to request your account info – minus all your messages as they are end-to-end encrypted and the messaging giant is not able to view them.
To get a copy of your collected data, you need to go to ‘Settings > Account’ to find a new ‘Request account info’ option. This features a ‘Request report’ button, which on clicking asks WhatsApp to compile your personal data stored on its servers and provides you a tentative date for when the report will become available to you.
Note: I requested my account info report on WhatsApp (version 2.18.128) on my Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 running Android 8.1 Oreo custom ROM.
As you can see below, I’ve already received my data report and it doesn’t take much time for WhatsApp to compile. It did say that the report might take up to a day or more to become available, but it merely took a couple of hours. You should receive a notification which says, ‘Your account info request is ready to download’ when it’s ready.
My data download was just 63 KB in size, and included a single HTML page with my personal info in it.
WhatsApp doesn’t appear to be collecting a whole lot of data, since messages have been encrypted. It includes many details such as your phone number (of course), phone model, IP address, profile picture, mobile numbers of your WhatsApp contacts, and name of WhatsApp Groups, as well as your privacy settings. It also shows you whether you have opted in to share data with WhatsApp and Facebook.
The data download report is a vital part of GDPR compliance for messaging apps, and should make it easier for you to export your data to other apps or for your records. While messages themselves are not part of the report, we can’t help but wonder what happened to the messages from before WhatsApp enabled end-to-end encryption.
This new feature is currently only available in beta and is expected to roll out to all users over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that update.