German regulator orders Facebook to cease collecting German WhatsApp users’ data

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News about Whatsapp’s controversial policy changes pertaining to data collection involving Facebook have been causing a stir ever since WhatsApp tried to give users an ultimatum regarding data collection. In recent news, WhatsApp will slowly withhold features of the app until users agree to the new terms. In the latest development, Facebook faces scrutiny from German regulators.

In a new release written up by Johannes Caspar, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Germany outlines issues found with WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy. Caspar claims the issues are not legal in accordance with the GDPR regulations that were set in place for all companies holding data about customers, users, or employees. The following is an excerpt from the release, machine translated from German:

The provisions on data transfer are scattered across different levels of the data protection declaration, they are unclear and difficult to distinguish between their European and international versions. In addition, their content is misleading and there are considerable contradictions. Even after a more detailed analysis, it cannot be seen what consequences the consent has for the users. Furthermore, consent is not given voluntarily, as WhatsApp requires consent to the new provisions as a condition for the continued use of the functionalities of the service.

Caspar issued a three-month emergency ban that bars Facebook from continuing with the data collection and asked a panel of EU data regulators to follow Germany’s actions across the European Union.

Facebook denies Caspar’s claims to Bloomberg and says it won’t stop the new policy from rolling out. It also calls the response of German regulators “based on a fundamental misunderstanding” of what the update intends to do.

Since the initial rollout of the new policy, there’s been a surge in demand for other messaging apps. Both Telegram and Signal have seen massive adoption of new users since then. Facebook has been widely criticized for its new policy changes and the cross-stream of information between brands became inevitable ever since Facebook acquired the messaging app in 2014.

Source 1 (German) • 2Via

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