WhatsApp and Privacy: What are the rules?

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Can privacy also be the goal of a for-profit company? In theory, simplified privacy policies should be suited to guide not only consumers’ decisions over sharing their data but also help them understand the different privacy offers among companies – especially in a consent- and information-based marketplace.

Economist Joseph Farrel, in “Can Privacy be Just Another Good?”, asserts that companies have strong incentives to choose “more responsible” privacy practices that can enhance consumers’ well being. But for that to take place, consumers must clearly understand the implications of the collection and treatment of their personal data and know whether these policies are effectively implemented by companies and overseen by regulatory agencies.

However, privacy policies are still plagued by great technical and legal complexity and are rarely understood by consumers – let alone read. In our report “WhatsApp e sua Privacidade: o que está valendo?” (WhatsApp and Privacy: What are the rules?), we attempt to contribute to understanding of WhatsApp’s privacy policy, as well as to promote discussions on the role of these policies in diminishing informational asymmetries, analyzing how they may (or may not) contribute to an information architecture that can help consumers make decisions. One of the biggest challenges to privacy-related public policy design today is to ensure efficient information and effective control: objectives often attributed to privacy policies. Enjoy!

Click here to read the report!