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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

Reapers Of The Intimate Word

How secure is the data we splurge on WhatsApp? Third parties can get hold of your number, and research reveals chinks in the ­protection of public group chats.

Reapers Of The Intimate Word
The Zuck Stops Here | Photograph by Getty Images
Reapers Of The Intimate Word
outlookindia.com
2018-05-05T10:38:44+05:30
  • Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman: “Was your data included in the data sold to the malicious third parties, your personal data?”
  • Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook and Owner of WhatsApp: “Yes.”

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We are all on WhatsApp. We send our ATM PINs to our children, bank passwords to our husbands, property papers to brokers, PAN cards to our CAs, front and back of our passports as proof of residence to get gas connections, personal photos and videos to our family group, business strategies and marketing plans to our office groups, dirty jokes to college buddies. Intelligence agencies, police departments and military personnel are known to be interacting on this messenger service. Practically, our whole lives, warts and all, are on WhatsApp.

What if all this can be spied on? It’s our entire life ­history, after all, that’s out there. How safe is it on WhatsApp? Have you ever imagined your bank opening your locker and selling off your valuables? Can information be commodified and sold to interested marketers or political parties? Of course it can. It’s already happening across the board. Will WhatsApp do it?

Well, Facebook already stands exposed. In the biggest ‘breach’ on the internet since Edward Snowden snooped in on the all-snooping NSA in the US, Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed that his former firm Cambridge Analytica used data from 87 million Facebook ­accounts—inc­luding that of its top boss Mark Zuckerberg, as he made clear when he deposed to the US senate—to target them with campaign material prior to the country’s 2016 presidential election. Over 5 million Ind­ians were also affected by the breach, courtesy of a Facebook app titled ‘This Is...

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