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Sci-Tech

Web Desk
January 15, 2021

National IT Board warns against sharing data on WhatsApp

Web Desk
Fri, Jan 15, 2021
An AFP illustration. — File

The National Information Technology Board said Friday that after Facebook-owned WhatsApp's new privacy policy comes into effect, it would start sharing users' data with its parent company.

Advising WhatsApp users' on how to use the app after February 08 — when the new privacy policy rolls out — it said: "Do not share sensitive information/ documents via WhatsApp at any cost."

"WhatsApp users will have to agree to new terms to continue using their services," it reminded people.

Users’ data to be shared includes location, IP address, phone and network operator details, monetary transactions, and payments, the NITB added.

California-based WhatsApp said on January 4 it "reserved the right to share some data including location and phone number with Facebook and its units such as Instagram and Messenger."

This move has led governments around the globe to investigate the implications of data sharing.

Meanwhile, in response to the messaging app's move, Federal Minister for Information Technology Amin ul Haq said Friday that a WhatsApp alternate, named Smart Office, is being developed and is currently under the testing phase.

If approved, the app will be used by government officials and employees, the IT minister said.

Talking to Geo News, he said the app will be released by June 2021. "A similar app is being developed for all citizens to use," he added, stressing that it would offer complete protection of user data and communications record.

He revealed that the ministry has prepared a Personal Data Protection Bill 2020 which will be sent to the law ministry for legal review before it is presented before the federal cabinet.