With the integration of Open Whisper System in popular apps like WhatsApp, Google Allo for end-to-end encryption, official and confidential conversation are migrating from emails to these encrypted apps. End-To-End encryption is defined as the intended sender and the intended receiver can only read the message, other than them not even the service provider (Google, WhatsApp (Accquired by Facebook) ), NSA can read or spy on the conversation but they know about the conversation is occurred and just they cannot read the message.

At this point you might be thinking or you would have conclude that every conversation running is private. Let’s not conclude here, read on.

WhatsApp

It is true that WhatsApp, Facebook, NSA cannot read or spy on your conversation because it is encrypted, but other than your messages there is a lot that they have about you. So, what WhatsApp collect and know about you:

  • It stores senders information
  • It stores the receivers information
  • Store timestamp of the messages

WhatsApp may retain date and time stamp information associated with successfully delivered messages and the mobile phone numbers involved in the messages, as well as any other information which WhatsApp is legally compelled to collect.

While using WhatsApp web, it collects meta data and are stored on the WhatsApp servers. It also records the IP address, means location is accessed and stored by them.

When you use the WhatsApp Site, our servers automatically record certain information that your web browser sends whenever you visit any website. These server logs may include information such as your web request, Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, browser type, browser language, referring / exit pages and URLs, platform type, number of clicks, domain names, landing pages, pages viewed and the order of those pages, the amount of time spent on particular pages, the date and time of your request, one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser, your phone number, phone number you are requesting the status of and various status information.

WhatsApp privacy policy is lengthy and nowhere it clearly state that it will not share user information with the third-party.

Google Allo

Google Allo comes up with smart, and smart reply works using Google Assistant. In order to use Google Assistant you have to agree with the Google Privacy Policy. Smart reply responds to the conversation without typing. It says Smart Reply learns over time and suggests responses in your style. This means somewhere your data is stored, processed and learned than only Smart Reply works.

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For Google to provide Google Assistant feature, it is required to access your conversation information (messages), so forget about the end-to-end encryption here because other than sender and receiver Google also read and access the messages. By default end-to-end encryption is not enabled on Google Allo.

App that really provide Privacy

Signal Private Messenger, the app built by those who built the Open Whisper System protocol for end-to-end encryption. Later on implemented by Google Allo, WhatsApp to deliver end-to-end encryption.

Why it is different from other apps?

It is open source, available freely at Github. As a result, any geek can see how it works, function and nothing is hidden. Signal app provides great privacy and security, no extra information is accessed except the required for communication. No spying on conversation or relevant data stored on servers. It is not run by revenue based organization; it runs on donations and grants.

I personally recommend to have a look on it’s privacy policy

Also go through the FAQ and you will get all the answers that why it is private, secure and different from other apps in terms of privacy and security.

Open Whisper Systems does not have access to the contents of any messages sent by Signal users. Additionally, the complete source code for the Signal clients and the Signal server is available on GitHub. This enables interested parties to examine the code and help us verify that everything is behaving as expected. It also allows advanced users to compile their own copies of the applications and compare them with the versions we distribute.

Personal Experience

Here I would like to share my personal experience with WhatsApp. Remember this is totally personal. I have noticed and observed that whenever I add a new person contact in my address book and start a conversation on WhatsApp, within a period of time I start seeing the same person’s friend suggestion on Facebook. From this I would say that WhatsApp is sharing the account information with Facebook without the user consent. Is anyone experiencing the same? Share your opinion via comments. In late January Android developer Javier Santos has also come up with this hidden option in WhatsApp beta version. This option was removed or may be kept invisible by WhatsApp in the next beta update.

Think more and hard before you choose the messaging app for your business and private conversation. It could help a lot in future.

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