Additional Internet Security Information

This information is provided as a courtesy, and your use of this information is at your own risk. TalkEnglishProgram.com is not responsible for loss of data or any consequences of following these instructions. We are committed to internet safety, and this information is intended to help TalkEnglishProgram.com participants in restricted countries stay safe in their communication and internet activity. Please research and seek additional help with considering these steps.

Whatsapp: While Whatsapp messages are end-to-end encrypted and in most cases not housed on the Whatsapp server, here are some reasons why Whatsapp is not completely safe for users in highly restricted countries:

  1. Whatsapp downloads voice messages and other data into your phone automatically. Some download features cannot be changed.

  2. Whatsapp's back up to Google Drive option allows your messages to be stored without encryption. Even if you change the back up setting to never after you have been using Whatsapp's back up Google drive, previous data is still accessible until it is deleted.

  3. Data saved inside your phone and on you back up drive can be retrievable by anyone who gains access to your phone and phone number. Even if you uninstall Whatsapp and delete backed up data on Google Drive, a person may be able to reinstall your application and restore your account and data inside your phone within a 45-day period.

 

   What to do:

  1. Follow the suggestions for Internet Safety Guidelines listed on the Terms of Service page of our website.

  2. Keep your phone and Whatsapp locked.

    • Add a security code to your phone and to your Whatsapp. Open your Whatsapp Account and select Two-step verification. Preventing access to your phone is one way to help protect your phone from intruders.

  3. Keep your phone clean of private communications.

    • Click calls and remove any calls from your call log that you wish to remove. This may not remove call log stored by Whatsapp.

    • Go to your Whatsapp Settings, click Chat, click Chat History, Clear all chats and Delete all chats if you wish to remove chats stored through this setting from your phone. To remove certain chats, select Storage and Data, Manage storage, and select the Contact you wish to view for removing data. This may not delete all message data.

    • Delete Media stored in Whatsapp. Go to Settings, click Storage and Data, click Manage Storage, and look for Chats that have stored data. Click the chat and remove any data stored.

    • Limit your data storage settings. Go to Settings, click Storage and Data, click When Using options and When Roaming options. Unclick anything that is checked. Audio messages, including phone conversations, are automatically downloaded into your phone. Limiting data storage may affect how your app operates.

    • Go to the Internal Storage of your phone and find the Whatsapp folder. In Android, you will go to your phone's My Files (not Whatsapp). Click all folders and delete the data that you want remove in Backup, Databases, and Media. Texts are stored in Databases and all other media in Media (i.e. Whatsapp  Audio, Documents, Images, Video, Voice Notes, etc.). This may affect the performance of undelivered messages.

    • Go to the Settings of your phone (not Whatsapp). Go into App Permissions. Turn off Storage for Whatsapp. This may affect how the app performs.

  4. Clear your phone of backed up data in your Google Drive

    • Go to your Google Drive account under the Apps section. Find the Whatsapp folder and remove data.

    • Inside your Whatsapp Settings, go to Chats, Chat Backup, and Back up to Google Drive. Select Never.

  5. Keep your contacts as safe as possible.

    • Avoid creating groups. These groups are housed by Whatsapp according to their Terms.

    • For increased protection, do not download Whatsapp contacts into your phone and do not import phone contacts into Whatsapp. 

  6. Make sure Live Location is turned off in the Privacy settings of your Account.

  7. Understand that while you may take privacy precautions, the recipient of your messages may not.

  8. Disable Whatsapp

    • If you wish to delete your Whatsapp account, use the in-app delete my account feature.

    • Whatsapp Terms state that if you do not use your account for 45 days using your phone number, the account is deleted; however, the Terms are unclear as to what information, if any, is retained. 

    • You can delete your account and get a new phone with a new phone number to remove your association with your previous account. Remember that Whatsapp can always be reinstalled by another individual who has access to your phone and previous phone number within a 45-day period. If you have installed Two-step verification and/or fingerprint locking, this may be more difficult. 

    • Please remember that uninstalling Whatsapp from your phone does not remove all data. Contact Whatsapp directly and follow their instructions for completely removing data from your phone and telephone number. 

  9. Read the Whatsapp Terms of Service

    • Read the Whatsapp Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and FAQ's to learn more about Whatsapp and your privacy. This will help to ensure that you have all the up-to-date information about Whatsapp and its standards of Privacy and Security.

    • Contact Whatsapp directly with any further questions you have by going to your Settings and selecting Help.

  10. Use end-to-end communication platforms that do not store information on your phone, computer, or cloud.

  11. Explore all settings of communication apps to learn how to protect your privacy.

  12. Read all Terms of Service for the communication apps you are using.

Telegram: Similar to Whatsapp, Telegram also stores audio messages and other data directly onto your phone. To increase your privacy, you can follow similar guidelines on this page and under our Internet Security section of our Terms of Use.