Surprise, surprise: it has been confirmed that WeChat gives your personal data to the Chinese government.
“We may be required to retain, preserve or disclose your Personal Information for a longer period of time:
- in order to comply with a court order, subpoena or other legal process;
- 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; or
WeChat is the most popular messaging service in China, it’s the local equivalent to WhatsApp or Messenger. It proposes an alternative to the mainstream messaging service regularly blocked in the country.
The terms indicate the app exposes personal information such as name, contacts, email address and even location if users have chosen to share it with the service. This follows other recent aggressive actions by the Chinese government to control online activities.
Tech insiders have long suspected Tencent of breaching users’ privacy, the latest update seems to confirm their suspicions.
Can’t say they didn’t warn you.
Update, 25 September:
Unfortunately this fundamentally pro-privacy update was misinterpreted as an admission that we send all user data to the Chinese government. This is not and has never been the case. Our server to user messages are encrypted. In case of criminal investigations, we will provide certain information to law enforcement agencies when legally compelled to do so, which is in line with international practices.
More generally, we would like to emphasize the following points: