The new rules on data protection from WhatsApp have caused a stir recently. Those who disagree with them can no longer use certain functions of the application, as stated at the outset.
Now the company is boating again. A spokesman said there were currently no plans to restrict the app’s operations.
Nevertheless, what WhatsApp does with users’ data remains controversial – especially when it comes to exchanging this data with parent company Facebook.
For now, there will be no repercussions as WhatsApp users do not agree to the chat service’s new data protection rules. A spokesman for Facebook told technology blogs “The Next Web” and “The Verge” that there were currently no plans to restrict activity to them. WhatsApp wants to clarify this after consulting with officials and experts. Instead, these users will be reminded of the update “from time to time”.
WhatsApp introduced new data protection regulations two weeks ago. It said users who do not accept the update will gradually lose important functions after a few weeks with warnings. “There are currently no plans to perpetuate these reminders or restrict the operation of the application,” it said in WhatsApp’s questions and answers about the new terms. “Due to the May 15 update, no accounts will be deleted or WhatsApp will not be blocked.”
WhatsApp threatened to lose functionality
According to previous announcements, users should lose access to their chat list over time, WhatsApp explained in a blog post. First, you can still accept incoming audio and video calls and use notifications to respond to chat messages. In a few more weeks, WhatsApp will announce that it will not be sending calls or messages to their smartphones. How long it will take until then is always an open question.
WhatsApp has always insisted that there is no additional data transfer to Facebook in the update. Changes are primarily about creating better ways to interact with companies. Participating users only know chat content in clear text, and no end-to-end encryption is allowed.
Hamburg data protection lawyer Johannes Gaspar stepped in anyway and, as a precautionary measure, issued an order in mid-May banning Facebook from processing WhatsApp data from German users. It is valid for three months because the Irish Data Protection Commission is responsible for Facebook in Europe. WhatsApp responded that the arrangement was “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and consequences of the update”.
WhatsApp had already rejected in January the announcement that more data would be shared with the mother. However, the introduction of the new rules was postponed for more than three months until May 15.
At the same time, WhatsApp emphasized that exchanging messages with companies is different than family or friends. “When you communicate with a company by phone, email or WhatsApp, they may use the information from those contacts for their own marketing purposes. It can also include advertising on Facebook, ”it said in a statement. If Facebook users want to contact a company that supports Facebook, they should now be made aware of the new rules, it said in a statement to the “next web”.
Outside the EU, some WhatsApp user data has been flowing on Facebook since 2016 for advertising purposes or to promote products.
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