Centre to examine WhatsApp's privacy breach over background mic use

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that the Centre would investigate a claim that WhatsApp accessed a user's microphone without his knowledge

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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The Centre on Wednesday said that it will examine the charge that WhatsApp allegedly accessed the microphone of users' devices without their knowledge.

In a tweet, the Union Minister of State for Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that the government would examine the breach even as the new Digital Personal Data Protection Bill was being readied.

“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 the new Digital Personal Data protection bill #DPDP is being readied,” Chandrasekhar said.
Twitter engineer says WhatsApp using microphone

Earlier this week, an engineer working with Twitter shared screenshots of his phone which showed WhatsApp accessing and using his mobile's microphone at various times.
The screenshots prompted several users, including Twitter and Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk, who said WhatsApp cannot be trusted.

WhatsApp clarifies

On Tuesday, WhatsApp in a tweet said it had been in touch with the Twitter engineer who had posted the screenshot.

“Over the last 24 hours we’ve been in touch with a Twitter engineer who posted an issue with his Pixel phone and WhatsApp. We believe this is a bug on Android that mis-attributes information in their Privacy Dashboard and have asked Google to investigate and remediate,” WhatsApp said in a tweet, adding that users had full control over how WhatsApp accessed mic in the device.
"Once granted permission, WhatsApp only accesses the mic when a user is making a call or recording a voice note or video - and even then, these communications are protected by end-to-end encryption so WhatsApp cannot hear them,” the company said in another tweet.

First Published: May 10 2023 | 3:09 PM IST

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