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WeChat Alleged Sharing of Private Data
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WeChat Alleged Sharing of Private Data

Tom LiOctober 4, 2017

Popular messaging app WeChat recently updated its privacy policy to let users know that it logs and shares private user information with the Chinese Government. While the latest update to WeChat’s privacy policy is no surprise, it does explicitly confirm what we’ve all assumed to be true all along.

The scope of data collection covers anything WeChat collects including identity information, credit card information, chat history, phone numbers, biometric information (voice, fingerprint, etc) and more. It would be safe to assume that all versions of WeChat is subjected to the same level of scrutiny.

WeChat’s new privacy policy complies with the stringent monitoring efforts made by the Chinese government. Recently, the Chinese government has stepped up online monitoring efforts by banning all Google services, blocking VPN access to users, and even blocking Whatsapp, a similar online messaging app to WeChat.

 

Source: Moneycontrol

Update: September 29, 2017

Tencent responded to the story with the following statement:

WeChat and Weixin consider user privacy and data protection not just a regulatory obligation but also a key part of the user experience. Weixin has recently updated its privacy policy to reflect the enhancement of user privacy and data protection laws in China.

Unfortunately this fundamentally pro-privacy update was misinterpreted as an admission that we send all user data to the Chinese government. This is not and has never been the case. Our server to user messages are encrypted.  In case of criminal investigations, we will provide certain information to law enforcement agencies when legally compelled to do so, which is in line with international practices.

More generally, we would like to emphasize the following points:
1) Protection of user data is a core value of the Weixin/WeChat team, and the updated privacy policy was part of an effort to improve upon this core value.
2) The updated privacy policy applies to Weixin users who have registered in China.
3) Reflecting different regulatory requirements (e.g., GDPR), a different privacy policy applies to users of WeChat (basically non-China users).  This policy is reviewed and certified by TRUSTe on an ongoing basis.

About The Author
Tom Li
Tom has a strong passion for computer hardware and technology. In his downtime, he enjoys gaming, playing guitar, and photography.

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