Facebook's gathering of data from users' WhatsApp
accounts has hit a stumbling block, after German regulators ruled that
the social network must stop the process, Digital Spy reports.
The data protection commissioner of the city of Hamburg says the
collection of users' information in Germany must cease immediately (via
Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data
Protection and Freedom of Information, said in a statement: "After the
acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook two years ago, both parties have
publicly assured that data will not be shared between them.
fact that this is now happening is not only a misleading of their users
and the public, but also constitutes an infringement of national data
protection law." The privacy watchdog, which has authority over
Facebook activities in the country, has also ordered that all
information already gathered from the roughly 35 million users in
Germany be deleted.
Caspar added: "In addition, there are many
millions of people whose contact details were uploaded to WhatsApp from
the user's address books, although they might not even have a connection
to Facebook or WhatsApp. "According to Facebook, this gigantic
amount of data has not yet been collected. Facebook's answer, that this
has merely not been done for the time being, is cause for concern that
the gravity of the data protection breach will have much a more severe
Facebook has said it is willing to work with the German regulator on finding a solution. WhatsApp caused outrage when it was announced last month that its data would be shared with Facebook.