German government orders Facebook to stop collecting data from WhatsApp users

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At the end of last month, the Whatsapp surprised everyone by announcing the sharing of all their user data with Facebook for advertising purposes. Now, the German government, through Hamburg Commission for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, ordered Facebook to immediately stop collecting WhatsApp data. In the request, the agency states that users were not properly informed of the change in terms of use and, thus, Facebook would be disrespecting the rights of Germans who use the application.

Another chapter of the controversy involving the use of data from WhatsApp users by Facebook. However, this is the first time that a country’s government has decided to intervene to ensure the privacy of users’ data. According to a press release, the Commission alleges that, with the change in terms of WhatsApp, Facebook could have access to contact lists of people who are not registered on the social network, which would characterize a violation of German laws. European countries, especially Germany, have strict laws governing data privacy of users of online services and applications, which takes these nations in the opposite direction from the policies practiced by various technology companies.

The imbroglio, according to a government representative, also happens due to the violation of deadlines set by Facebook in this action. “Facebook should ask for this permission in advance, which did not happen“Says Commissioner Johannes Gaspar. In response, the social network said it had complied with the country’s laws and that it plans to work with the country’s agency to come up with a solution that will not harm users.

Since the announcement of the change in terms (which really caught many people by surprise), many users were concerned about sharing their information. Facebook can access phone numbers, profile data, status messages and other important information from your WhatsApp account. The social network, however, says that the conversations remain encrypted and, because of this, does not have access to the messages exchanged in the application. It is worth remembering that, when purchasing WhatsApp in 2014, Facebook stated that the messenger privacy policy would not be changed. This contradiction today generates many criticisms of the social network created by Mark Zuckerberg.

The change in terms was not so immediate. Users were given 30 days (which expired yesterday, the 26th) to decide whether or not to approve data sharing. After that period, it is no longer possible to undo the integration between the applications – unless you delete your profile and do not use the messenger anymore. From now on, new users must accept the new terms of use to create a profile on WhatsApp.

via Engadget