Facebook aims to legalize use or sell WhatsApp users' data

Terming data valuable asset, experts believe it can be used for building perception management.

Facebook aims to legalize use or sell WhatsApp users' data

Describing data as the most valuable asset in today’s world, a digital media expert Nabat Garakhanova said there is no complete safety on the internet as far as privacy issues are concerned. 

Citing the popular messaging app WhatsApp's new privacy rules, she recommended that people should choose non-profit open-source applications rather than those coming from companies. 

Last week, the messaging service WhatsApp forced many users to agree to new privacy rules for sharing personal data with Facebook companies. The users will not be able to use the application service unless they accept the terms. 

Responding to questions from Anadolu Agency, Garakhanova, a doctorate in digital commutation said while the social media platform Facebook does not implement this type of obligation in many countries, such as in the EU, the firm tries to implement data mongering, thus it probably underestimates Turkey and its laws. 

She said that Facebook has imposed new privacy rules for commercial users. 

"There have been many discussions about the use of the data they have before, but as a requirement of the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU countries and the Personal Data Protection Law in our country, WhatsApp had to obtain permission for the use of our data," said Garakhanova, who also heads a consultancy firm Mezo Digital. 

The social media platform has already users' data but it is now trying to use and sell the data for advertisements legally, she added. 

Recalling that Facebook was accused of manipulating the votes in the previous US elections, she said that personal data can be used for building perception management.

She said Facebook was not implementing the same rules in the EU for fear of getting sanctioned due to the grouping’s precision for protecting personal rights, probably.

Previously, France and the UK had prevented their citizens from using WhatsApp data by Facebook, she said. 

She added that Turkey should also strongly act on the change of privacy rules by these social media companies. 

Meanwhile, the Turkish Competition Authority has suspended WhatsApp's new data-sharing rules and opened an investigation into the messaging app and Facebook.

In this context, Facebook must suspend data sharing and announce its move to all users, the Turkish authority said.

Alternatives

Saying that there is no complete safety on the internet, she said alternative applications will also have several personal data breaches.

Garakhanova recommended that people should choose non-profit open-source applications instead of those coming from companies.

"We usually do not read rules put out by applications, unfortunately. Many applications require irrelevant permissions on our devices and share our data," she said. 

Reminding that Google also has the largest database globally, the expert said users should be careful while granting permissions.

After WhatsApp's new rules, several Turkish users have switched to alternatives, such as Telegram, Signal, and locally developed Bip and Dedi.

A top Turkish defense company Havelsan has also developed an indigenous and safe messaging software, called ileti, designed for corporate communication with White-box cryptography for the first time in the world. This kind of cryptography combines methods of encryption and obfuscation to embed secret keys within application code, making breaching of data harder for the attacker. 

Exploitation

Another communication expert Berrin Kalsin, said WhatsApp users are forced to accept new rules illegally. She said that the misuse of data has become another form of exploitation in the current world. 

She added that Elon Musk, the CEO of several technology firms including Tesla and SpaceX, has offered an alternative application – Signal.

Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have urged citizens to not use WhatsApp anymore.

"In terms of data privacy, the distinction between the EU and other countries is unacceptable," said Ali Taha Koc, the head of Turkey's Digital Transformation Office.

Russian officials have also warned citizens for accepting WhatsApp rules and offered to delete the application.

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