On Data Privacy Day, smartphone users around the world are faced with swiftly changing laws and increasingly invasive practices.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg caused alarm last week after announcing plans to merge WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. Pooling data from all three messaging apps could lead to the world’s largest data collection; regulators are especially concerned given Facebook’s history of mishandling & exploiting user data.

The merger will allow users to communicate across platforms — you could message a relative’s Messenger account from your Whatsapp one. It is feared that the merger could debilitate Whatsapp’s end-to-end encryption technology.

Australia now requires that manufacturers provide law enforcement with backdoor access to smartphones, a move Apple condemned.

There is growing doubt about both governments’ and platforms’ ability to keep private data safe from breaches and misuse. Data-related scandals are encouraging some to switch to alternative encrypted platforms such as Signal and Telegram.

States and private companies are more explicitly accessing citizens’ encrypted communications. What will this mean for personal data, and the survival of non-compliant apps?

Credit for this article's header image goes to Markus Spiske on Unsplash.