Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Facebook banned from gathering WhatsApp data

By: PanArmenian

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 Gizmodo).

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.

"The 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 impact."
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.