Intellectual Property, Privacy, New Technologies and Legal Advertising
In the midst of the crossfire, it is important to analyze in detail the changes that would take place as of May 15, 2020 in the policies and operation of WhatsApp:
- Optional features : in the new policy, WhatsApp establishes that some optional features -such as, for example, sharing geolocation- require additional data processing. However, the optional features are not listed in detail.
- Cell phone contacts : the new policies establish that the user can upload - if allowed by the applicable laws of their country - phone numbers to contacts on a regular basis. If any of the contacts are not using WhatsApp yet, the information will be anonymized.
- Time, frequency and length of conversations : in its new policy, WhatsApp points out that it processes data related to the time, frequency and length of conversations or messages from its users.
- Various user data : according to the new policy, WhatsApp will process metadata related to the functions of the service used by the user, such as messaging, calls, the user's status, the groups that they integrate (including the group name, group image and group description), profile picture, “about” information, online or offline status of the user and when the user last used WhatsApp. online u offline del usuario y cuándo el usuario utilizó WhatsApp por última vez.
- Geolocation : In its new policy, WhatApp declares that it collects precise location data with the user's permission when the user chooses to use geolocation-related functions, such as when they decide to share their location with their contacts or view nearby locations. However, WhatsApp points out that, even if the user does not use location-related features, the company collects IP addresses and other information such as area codes from phone numbers to estimate their general location (e.g. city and country where they are located).
- Personal data storage : in the new policy, WhatsApp declares that it will store users’ personal data for the time it deems necessary to fulfill the purposes explained above. According to the company, the storage periods are determined on a case-by-case basis. The criterion is fundamentally discretionary.
- International transfers and data storage in various jurisdictions : WhatsApp's new policy states that when sharing data with other Facebook Group companies - a practice that began in 2016 - information is transferred and then stored on servers located in different countries, which have different data protection laws. The list of countries where the information might be stored is not available.
There is no doubt that the changes in the policies provided an opportunity for users, the press and also specialists to read more critically the operation and business model of WhatsApp: a service that is free when measured in pesos or dollars, but that has a cost when the measurement unit is user privacy.
 We recall that on February 19, 2014, Facebook Inc. announced the purchase of the instant messaging service WhatsApp for USD 19 billion.