Terms And Privacy Policy





To some extent, WeChat users were already aware of the possibility that the Chinese government was able to read their private information and messages, but it is still striking when WeChat prompted us to reexamine the privacy policy as the Tencent-owned messaging app detailed in its English policy all the user information it collects as well as its readiness to share this data with the government.

WeChat’s latest update greeted users with a new terms of use and privacy policy, which users must agree to if they want to use the app. WeChat acknowledges that it collects a wide range of personal information such as name, phone number, email address, credit card info, ID as well as the data you made available to the platform like location, chat logs data, and other shared information.

Wechat privateWhat caught so many people’s eye is the amount of information they share with the government to comply with “applicable laws or regulations.” According to the English policy, WeChat can disclose users’ personal information:

  • in order to comply with applicable laws or regulations;
  • in order to comply with a court order, subpoena or other legal processes;
  • in response to a request by a government authority, law enforcement agency or similar body (whether situated in your jurisdiction or elsewhere);
  • where we believe it is reasonably necessary to comply with applicable laws or regulations;

Interestingly, there seems to be an obvious difference in the company’s attitude when compared with the current update for Weixin (the mainland China version of the app) and a previous version for WeChat  (the global version of the app) users updated in 2015.

Different from the full compliance in providing data for “applicable law and regulations,” there’s little mention of sharing data with government bodies. Instead of blocking WeChat users from using the app, Weixin’s new privacy policy update says (our translation): “Unless it’s required by relevant laws, your objection in providing this information will block the feature concerned, but will not influence the usage of other features.”

The new Chinese privacy policy has evoked a series of outcry from Chinese users who rushed to WeChat on various app stores with furious comments.

“It’s already hardly bearable to collect our personal information. Now WeChat is going too far, even asking for smartphone contact list before logging into the app. Who do you think you are to ask everything about your users, the state secrecy administration?” commented a user under the pseudo name of “M梅梅”.

Update 21 September 2017, 3 pm: The original article implied that the sharing of personal information with governmental bodies was new. This implication was incorrect; in fact, this part of the privacy policy was included in the 2015 WeChat (global version) Privacy Policy update. We have changed this and provided more detail on the new Chinese policy. We will update again once we get the official response.

Source : http://technode.com/2017/09/19/now-its-official-wechat-is-watching-you-1/

Updated: WeChat's privacy policy update draws attention to information shared with the government
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