WhatsApp-Fb privateness U-turn now being probed by EU information watchdog


A seismic shift in privateness coverage by messaging app WhatsApp this summer season, when it mentioned it might start sharing consumer information with mother or father firm Fb together with for advert focusing on, has now attracted the eye of European’s information safety watchdog group, the Article 29 Working Social gathering.

The WP29 group wrote to WhatsApp founder Jan Koum yesterday, setting out its issues concerning the privateness coverage U-turn — together with how the shift was communicated to customers.

“The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) has serious concerns regarding the manner in which the information relating to the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy was provided to users and consequently about the validity of the users’ consent,” it writes.

“WP29 also questions the effectiveness of control mechanisms offered to users to exercise their rights and the effects that the data sharing will have on people that are not a user of any other service within the Facebook family of companies.”

It provides that its varied members, so principally all of the nationwide DPAs of EU Member States, will “act in a coordinated way” to focus on any issues they determine, with a devoted working group for enforcement actions set to deal with the WhatsApp situation particularly.

The letter asks WhatsApp for particulars of the precise information being shared — together with information classes, supply and recipients, and the results of the info switch on customers and on “potential third persons” — so the working group can assess whether or not adjustments are mandatory to make sure authorized compliance.

The Wp29 group additionally urges WhatsApp to cease passing consumer information to Fb whereas it investigates the legality of the association.

WhatsApp declined to specify whether or not it might be halting data-sharing in Europe, per the WP29’s request, after we requested.

However it offered TechCrunch with the next assertion, attributed to a spokesperson:  “We’re working with data protection authorities to address their questions. We’ve had constructive conversations, including before our update, and we remain committed to respecting applicable law.”

The WhatsApp-Fb privateness coverage U-turn had already drawn criticism from particular person European Union member nation information safety businesses, together with the ICO within the UK and the Hamburg Metropolis DPA in Germany.

Europe’s competitors commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has additionally publicly flagged the association as a priority — suggesting new guidelines are wanted to allow the area’s regulators to maintain up with tech giants’ use of knowledge.


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Désiré LeSage


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