UK Calls For WhatsApp To Stop Sharing User Data

Germany has also spoken out against WhatsApp's data sharing

The UK’s information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has discussed the country’s plans regarding data protection laws after it leaves the EU. Denham said that she believes the UK should move forward with the same data regulations as the EU, saying that “Brexit shouldn’t mean Brexit when it comes to standards of data protection”. The new regulation will come into effect in 2018, and applies to businesses handling EU citizens’ data, even if the company is not European-based. She added that this meant that new plans announced by Facebook that it would begin sharing WhatsApp data – such as phone numbers and contact information – between platforms, would come under pressure after fears regarding users’ privacy. This follows on from the German data regulator announcing that it had ordered Facebook to stop collecting WhatsApp data, saying that Facebook had no legal permission to collect the information. Controversy regarding the collection of user data on WhatsApp has also sparked conversation outside Europe. In September, the Indian High Court ruled that the data collection contravened Indian law, and WhatsApp was ordered to delete any previously stored information. The court said that the new terms of service directly jeopardised the privacy of over 100 million Indian WhatsApp users. Originally, the app’s parent company Facebook refused to comply with the order, but it has since done a U-turn saying that it planned to “proceed with the privacy policy and terms update in accordance with the Court’s order”. 

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