Last week WhatsApp users began to see a pop-up in the app prompting them to accept the chat service’s new privacy policy update, or lose access to the service by early February. By late last week you were probably knee-deep in messages from friends vowing to ditch the app for one or more of its competitors, and possibly thinking, “Well, that escalated quickly”.

We can blame a couple of prominent public figures — ahem, Elon Musk, ahem — for some of the drama here. Generally speaking it is only privacy geeks and legal eagles that even read the policies and fine print. We know we should, but knowing and doing are two different things. With this policy update, however, the fear and loathing went mainstream quickly...

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