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As World Celebrates Data Privacy Day, Here’s How You Can Protect Data Using These Security Measures

In a digitally connected world, data privacy has been one of the most hotly debated topics. The issue has become more pressing in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, as more and more people are forced to spend time online.

Data Privacy Day, observed on January 28, aims to raise awareness about the importance of privacy in ensuring online safety for all individuals.

Failure to protect one’s privacy may result not only in exploitation but also in criminal charges against internet users.

People are becoming increasingly concerned about the security of their data as instant messaging mobile applications such as WhatsApp and Telegram proliferate.

Governments around the world, on the other hand, have been putting pressure on internet companies to allow them access to these conversations. They want tech companies to create “back doors” that will allow law enforcement to access encrypted platforms.

To assuage their concerns, these companies have implemented numerous security features, such as end-to-end encryption, to ensure that the exchange of information is not visible to anyone other than the two people involved in the conversation. This feature is available on both WhatsApp and Telegram.

They claim that by cracking down on bad actors and mischief-makers, the government will create a safer environment for citizens, preventing the spread of viral misinformation and putting a stop to organised crime.

Here’s how you can protect your data and prevent misinformation from spreading by utilising security measures made available by technology companies and mobile phone manufacturers:

Two-step verification: This adds an additional layer of security to users’ end-to-end encrypted messaging accounts. In the event that the SIM card or phone is stolen, the process requires the creation of a PIN (a numerical code) when resetting and verifying the chat account.

Touch ID or Face ID lock: These are additional features that are available in a wide range of phones manufactured by leading companies such as Apple, Samsung, Google, and others. Some phones even include under-screen fingerprint sensors that use ultrasound to create images of people’s fingers.

Forward limits: Some messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, have limited the forwarding of messages to only five chats at a time, limiting information sharing and taking an important step toward reducing the spread of misinformation. According to data from these companies, the move has resulted in fewer of forwarded messages in India by more than 25%.

Additional restrictions for viral messages: WhatsApp has imposed additional restrictions on messages that have been sent numerous times. Such messages are denoted by a double arrow and the label “Forwarded many times,” indicating that they did not arise from a close contact and can only be forwarded to one other chat at a time. Users can also block accounts and report messages to the messaging services.

Messages that vanish: The messaging service WhatsApp introduced a feature that allows users to send messages that vanish. When this option is enabled, new messages sent in the individual or group chat will be deleted after seven days. WhatsApp has also introduced the ‘view once’ feature, which deletes photos and videos after they have been opened, giving users even more control over their privacy. Meanwhile, Telegram supports self-destructing messages that leave no trace even on its servers.

Admin controls: Some end-to-end encrypted messaging services provide users with administrative controls. Administrators can now choose who can send messages within groups thanks to a new WhatsApp setting. Secret chats in Telegram are not stored in the cloud and can only be accessed on the device from which they originated.

End-to-end encrypted backup is now available on WhatsApp.

Shambhavi Singh
Shambhavi Singh
The writer is a confident speaker with an irresistible affinity for stage and the zest to write. Currently pursuing History Honours from Miranda House, University of Delhi. She is an opinionated bird from the holy city of Varanasi who has been in love with exploring and learning about culture and heritage from the very beginning. She love writing in every niche because the pen and paper are magical.

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