WhatsApp’s new privacy policy attracts regulatory scrutiny

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy attracts regulatory scrutiny

WhatsApp’s revised privacy policy, which allows it to share user data with parent company Facebook, has now undergone regulatory review. A German privacy regulator seeks an administrative order to prevent the social media giant from moving forward with the updated privacy policy, Bloomberg reports.

According to the report, the regulator of the city of Hamburg is concerned that Facebook may use the data collected on WhatsApp to develop its marketing and advertising activities. The company’s data protection directive already says it could aggregate user data across all of its services. It now requires WhatsApp users to comply with this policy.

Hamburg’s Data Protection and Freedom of Information Commissioner Johannes Caspar, mentionned that “there has not yet been a regulatory review of actual processing transactions between WhatsApp and Facebook to our knowledge. There are currently reasons to believe that the provisions on data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook should be impermissibly enforced due to the lack of voluntary and informed consent. “

Caspar is looking for an order that is immediately executable before May 15, when WhatsApp plans to apply the new policy. However, Facebook will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations at a hearing, the Hamburg commissioner said.

WhatsApp is said to have around 60 million users in Germany. The German branch of Facebook is based in Hamburg.

Germany tries to block Facebook from implementing new WhatsApp privacy policy

WhatsApp began informing users of its revised privacy policy earlier this year. A widespread backlash followed, with some users even switch to competing services such as Telegram and Signal.

Facebook defended its position that the revised policy would not affect user privacy. The company also revealed what data it collects from WhatsApp and how it shares that information. However, Facebook did not withdraw the new privacy policy. Instead, he delayed change until May 15. Now, in the midst of all of this, the social media giant faces a legal challenge over this.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Facebook said it was reviewing the correspondence it received from the Hamburg regulator. The company “will resolve their misunderstandings regarding the purpose and effect of the update.” He remains “determined to provide secure and private communications for all.”

“To be clear, by agreeing to the updated WhatsApp terms of service, users are not agreeing to any extension of our ability to share data with Facebook, and the update has no impact on the privacy of their messages. with their friends or family wherever they are in the world. Facebook said.

This investigation into WhatsApp’s revised privacy policy in Germany follows the announcement of a similar review by the Competition Commission of India (ICC). The ICC is looking into the competitive side of the issue, saying it could lead to excessive data collection and harassment of consumers for targeted advertising.

Since WhatsApp is extremely popular in India, ICC sees it as an abuse of market dominance. The Supreme Court of India, meanwhile, is investigating the privacy angle separately. It would be interesting to see what emerges from all of these surveys on WhatsApp’s revised privacy policy.

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