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Devil's in the details: WhatsApp controversy raises digital security concerns

Popular messaging service WhatsApp has been mired in controversy since it announced its new privacy policy.

Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - Experts say that digital safety and security should be a concern for all of us and consumers should not just accept what is presented to them.

Popular messaging service WhatsApp has been mired in controversy since it announced its new privacy policy.

This has seen users moving to other messaging platforms such as Telegram and Signal.

On Saturday, WhatsApp announced that it was delaying the implementation of its new policy and terms of service until 15 May.

READ MORE: WhatsApp delays data sharing change after backlash

So, should you delete WhatsApp or not?

This a question many people have asked since the messaging app alerted the public to its privacy conditions, causing confusion among users on whether the app will have access to private data.

Smartphones are a constant part of many of our lives, with millions surfing the internet and social media platforms, ordering food and products.

But can we protect ourselves a bit better?

Thami Nkosi of the Right2Know Campaign said: “It's the fine print. Every time you install the apps on our phones, then the fine print that says 'we use cookies', sometimes the apps don't give you an option so, what we need to actually start doing is educate ourselves on digital safety.”

He said that it was important for people to educate themselves about digital health and safety.

And if there are concerns, he said, report it to the information regulator.

The body's Sizwe Snail ka Mtuze said that they received all sorts of complaints about personal information being used without authorisation.

“We get a lot of complaints referring to the sharing of spam where people have not given their consent to either be receiving SMSs, in particular phone calls from marketers, complaints also against the telecoms industry and some against the banking industry.”

And at the same time, the regulator is talking to Facebook SA about the changes to WhatsApp.

WATCH: WhatsApp privacy policy changes: Should you stay or go?

LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES TO USING WHATSAPP AND OTHER APPS?

Signal
https://signal.org/

NordVPN (Paid VPN Service with app for Android and iOS phones)
www.nordvpn.com

ExifEraser (removes data tracks from photos taken on your phone that can link back to your device)
Search in Google Play store

ExifRemover (removes data tracks from photos taken on your phone that can link back to your device)
Search in Google Play Store

Secret Audio Recording (Free)
Search in Google Play Store

GPS Tracking Pro (Android and iOS)
Temporary and Instant Messaging

Spam Mimic (encodes short messages as spam-like text that can be decoded by recipient into a simple message)
www.spammimic.com

Signal for Desktop and Mobile
https://signal.org/

Jitsi for video and audio
https://jitsi.org/

Setting Up Your Browser

Mozilla Firefox
Force Https

Add-Ons: Do Not Track Me
No Script
Privacy Badger

Stealthy (www.stealthy.co)

Brave Browser
https://brave.com/

Secure OS Installations Guide

How to create an Ubuntu USB Stick:
http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.