Days after an alleged WhatsApp privacy breach put the privacy of billions of WhatsApp users around the world at risk, Meta has now issued a statement in response to the issue. The incident that sparked global outrage occurred when a Twitter engineer on WhatsApp revealed that the microphone on his Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphone was live and tracking him. It drew reactions from current Twitter Chief Elon Musk and India’s Union Minister of State for Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Now, a spokesperson for Meta India has come out and responded to the claims that the privacy of WhatsApp users was breached.
Google issues statement
Twitter Engineer Foad Dabiri shared screenshots on Twitter, claiming that WhatsApp had accessed the microphone on his Pixel 7 Pro several times while he was asleep. Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Rajeev Chandrasekhar commented on his tweet, “This is an unacceptable breach and violation of privacy. We will be examining this immediately and will act on any violation of privacy even as new Digital Personal Data protection bill is being readied”.
Now, Shivnath Thukral, the director of public policy at Meta India has responded to Chandrasekhar’s tweet, “We believe this is a bug on Android, Google has said they are looking into it. Your calls and voice notes are protected by end-to-end encryption so we cannot hear the microphone in any case. We’re aligned on safeguarding privacy”, Thukral explained in his tweet.
Despite a statement being issued by the Meta spokesperson about Google investigating the issue, there has been no resolution yet at the time of writing.
Why did this issue occur?
According to WhatsApp, the information in the user’s Privacy Dashboard is being misattributed due to a bug. However, WhatsApp announced that it had promptly taken action by reporting the issue to Google and requesting an investigation to remediate the problem. Now, Google has announced that it is currently working on the issue.
Since Android 12, users can know if and when an app is using the smartphone’s microphone and camera, using privacy features like Privacy Dashboard and Privacy Indicator.
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