Understanding Apple Privacy Labels for WhatsApp

Apple mandated since December 2020 that all apps on the Apple App store must show how their data may be used and link the information to the user identity. In this article, we will explain the reason why so much information is required by WhatsApp for Apple users and what your details are used for.

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption which means that all calls, messages, photos, videos, voice notes, among others that are sent from your device to your friends and family only reach the intended recipient. Not even the company can get hold of this data because the messages do not get stored on the servers after delivery.

The company owned by tech giants, Facebook claims that the information is needed to provide reliable and efficient global communication service. In fact, WhatsApp does not actually collect so much information as a matter of principle, and measures are always taken to block access to the information, limited as it may be. For example, WhatsApp does not share your contact list with anyone even when you grant them access to your contact list, not even Facebook.

Below is the WhatsApp label exhibited in Apple’s app store:

Contact information: The moment you sign up for the WhatsApp service, your phone number is received as a means to deliver messages to your device. You can share your email address with WhatsApp if you want to, though it’s not compulsory, to enable two-step verification.

Contacts: WhatsApp requires access to your phone number to see which of the numbers you want to send a message to are linked to their system for the purpose of easy communication. If you agree to allow the company to access your number, the app then displays the name you pick from your phone book.

Financial information: Some countries allow payment of several funds via WhatsApp and your bank information or card details are needed to ensure the completion of a transaction.

Purchases: If you choose to use Facebook Shops via WhatsApp, the company is able to monitor your activities such as the products you view and purchase, and send this information to Facebook since it is their service. The implication of this is that what you browse and purchase within Shops may affect what you see in Shops on other Facebook products.

Identifiers: Your WhatsApp user ID is generated from your phone number. WhatsApp is also aware of the IP address from which your device connects to the app.

Coarse Location: WhatsApp is aware of your IP address and country code via your phone number through your precise location is unknown to the company.

User Content: WhatsApp receives your “about” info coupled with profile pictures, group names, group profile photos, and group descriptions for the purpose of preventing abuse and banning accounts that are suspected of using WhatsApp to violate laws.

Usage Data: For the purpose of operating an efficient global service, it is important to receive user data. WhatsApp takes adequate actions against accounts engaged in bulk or automated messaging. WhatsApp also sponsors campaigns, which includes Apple’s ad network to reach people who are not users of WhatsApp.

Diagnostics: In case you encounter an issue using WhatsApp, crash logs are received by the company to help in fixing bugs and improving the app’s service.

This article was originally published at WABetaInfo

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