WhatsApp went into full damage control mode, assuring users that personal messages would remain private and encrypted and that Facebook will not scan them. The blog post included the following statement: “We have heard from a lot of people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There has been a lot of misinformation that has caused concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and facts. WhatsApp was based on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means that we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. That is why we do not keep records of who they call or text. We also cannot see your shared location and we do not share your contacts with Facebook. With these updates, none of that will change. Instead, the update includes new options that people will have to message a business on WhatsApp and provides greater transparency on how we collect and use data. While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we believe that more people will choose to do so in the future and it is important that people are aware of these services. This update does not extend our ability to share data with Facebook. ”
However, Facebook will make use of the messages (including attachments such as receipt scans or images) sent to companies on WhatsApp that use its API (estimated to be north of a thousand worldwide). Users will be notified before sending messages to one of these companies. While that’s not a major privacy concern on its own, WhatsApp hid the details behind several clicks to other pages in its initial announcement.
The first legal challenge arises in India
The legal challenge was filed by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents some 40,000 trade associations located across the country. The agency regularly advocates at the highest levels of the Indian government and made headlines in 2020 by calling for a boycott of Chinese products in response to ongoing border tensions between the two countries.