New WhatsApp privacy policy could face intervention from German regulators

Last updated on Apr 15, 2021, 12:48 am
New WhatsApp privacy policy could face intervention from German regulators

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Johannes Casper, has opened proceedings to stop WhatsApp from implementing a controversial privacy policy that allows it to share user data with Facebook. The German regulator is seeking an "immediately enforceable order" before May 15, which is when users will have to accept the new privacy policy or (presumably) stop using WhatsApp.

Reprisal

Facebook received strong backlash for new WhatsApp policies

On January 4, WhatsApp had announced an updated privacy policy that allows the messaging platform to share a few aspects of its users' data such as name, IP address, phone number, and contacts with its parent company Facebook. After facing a strong pushback for these policies from users all around the globe, Facebook delayed implementing the new policies until May.

Data exploitation

German regulator fears that Facebook could misuse WhatsApp data

The German commissioner fears that Facebook might use the data from WhatsApp to expand its marketing and advertising business. According to the regulator, the new WhatsApp privacy policy is intended to be unlawfully enforced due to the lack of voluntary and informed consent. The new proceedings aim to protect unlawful consent pressure on millions of people, while also securing their data.

Tightening grip

This could encourage other countries to take action against Facebook

According to Johannes, more people in Germany use WhatsApp than Facebook. The messaging platform has over 60 million users in the country. Therefore, the regulator says that it is necessary to ensure that the new privacy policy is not an "abusive exploitation of data power." While the order could apply only to German residents, it could set a precedent for other countries as well.

Trouble in paradise

Problems don't seem to end for Facebook

In a related news, it was recently discovered that WhatsApp has a major flaw where anyone who knows your number can suspend your WhatsApp account. Moreover, a few days ago it was revealed that Facebook has suffered two major data leaks even as the company continues to face strong backlash against its privacy policy ultimatum.

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