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Order against WhatsApp data on Facebook

Order against WhatsApp data on Facebook

HAMBURG (DBA) – Hamburg Data Protection Officer Johannes Caspar wants to ensure that no data from the chat service will be used by the parent company Facebook after the upcoming change in WhatsApp rules.

Among other things, Caspar warns that the new Terms of Use, which come into effect on Saturday, will make it possible to use data to link Facebook companies’ products. He can only issue an order for a period of three months because the Irish data protection authority is generally responsible for Facebook in Europe. At the moment, Caspar wants to run the European Data Protection Commission (EDSA) to make a decision at the European level, as announced on Tuesday.

WhatsApp responded in the first reaction that the data protection officer’s order was “based on a misunderstanding of the objective and the consequences of the update”. The service is committed to creating better ways to interact with companies and making the use of data more transparent. WhatsApp has previously insisted that it does not provide new rules for the transfer of additional data to Facebook. “Since the claims of the Hamburg Data Protection Authority are false, this arrangement will not affect the introduction of the update,” the spokesman stressed.

Outside the EU, some WhatsApp user data has been sent to Facebook for advertising purposes or to promote products – since 2016.

Facebook has a German office in Hamburg. Caspar could therefore open a temporary injunction against Facebook in Ireland “under exceptional circumstances” to protect the rights and freedoms of German users. He warned that with the new rules, the earlier announcement that WhatsApp messages will not be shared on Facebook for others to see will no longer apply.

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At the same time, the data protection activist was harshly critical of the new rules on data transfer. They are scattered at different stages of data protection notification. They are ambiguous and it is difficult to distinguish their European and international versions. In addition, they are misleading and show significant inconsistencies. “Even after a more detailed analysis, it is not clear what effects the approval will have on users,” Caspar warned. Approval was not granted “because the new terms require WhatsApp approval as a condition for continued use of the Services”.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210511-99-553433 / 3

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