Germany refrains Facebook from using WhatsApp data for three months

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Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Network is the in-house news collection and distribution agency.

German regulators have banned Facebook from processing user data from its instant messaging service WhatsApp for three months, citing WhatsApps’s privacy policy update that could violate European data protection rules. Dr. Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg representative for data protection and freedom of information said  “The order is intended to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the many millions of users throughout Germany who give their consent to the terms of use… It is important to prevent disadvantages and damages associated with such a black box procedure.”

Facebook, which has its German headquarters in Hamburg, said that it is mulling its legal options and plans to appeal.

WhatsApp’s new data policy

The ban is over WhatsApp’s notification to the users to agree to new terms and conditions by May 15 that gives Facebook sweeping access to private data. There are about 60 million WhatsApp users in Germany and about 1.5 billion users globally. The move is a part of  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to monetize WhatsApp after buying it up for $19 billion in 2014.

The German regulator opened proceedings against Facebook since it was forcing the users to approve it updated terms and conditions.

WhatsApp’s response

WhatsApp has termed the ban as “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and effect of WhatsApp’s update and therefore has no legitimate basis.”

The company denied that the update is connected with any expansion of data sharing with Facebook, and said that the update is related only to the messages between businesses and customers.

WhatsApp tried to introduce the new policies at the beginning of the year, but retracted after the global backlash and users shifting to the rival apps Signal and Telegram which have claimed that their apps have higher levels of user privacy.


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