No to shar­ing of What­sApp users’ data

The Sun (Malaysia) - - LIFESTYLE -

WHAT­SAPP has tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended giv­ing par­ent com­pany Face­book in­for­ma­tion about users in Europe for ad tar­get­ing, re­spond­ing to con­cerns there over pri­vacy, a source close to the mat­ter said.

Con­ver­sa­tions with of­fi­cials in Europe over the past few months re­sulted in the so­cial net­work de­cid­ing to only tap­ping into What­sApp user data there for pur­poses such as fight­ing spam, ac­cord­ing to the source.

The break was de­scribed as an ef­fort to give reg­u­la­tors time to share pri­vacy con­cerns and for Face­book to con­sider ways to ad­dress them.

Ger­man data pro­tec­tion au­thor­i­ties in Septem­ber cited pri­vacy con­cerns when they blocked Face­book from col­lect­ing sub­scriber data from What­sApp there.

“It has to be (the users’) de­ci­sion whether they want to con­nect their ac­count with Face­book,” Ham­burg’s Com­mis­sioner for Data Pro­tec­tion and Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Jo­hannes Cas­par said at the time.

“Face­book has to ask for their per­mis­sion in ad­vance.”

What­sApp an­nounced in Au­gust that it would be­gin shar­ing data with Face­book, in a bid to al­low bet­ter tar­geted ad­ver­tis­ing and to com­bat spam on the plat­form.

Users of the in­stant mes­sen­ger were given the abil­ity to opt out of send­ing in­for­ma­tion to Face­book through set­tings in What­sApp’s ap­pli­ca­tions on smart­phones.

Euro­pean data pro­tec­tion group G29 for­mally ex­pressed its con­cerns at the end of Oc­to­ber.

The G29 sent let­ters ask­ing Face­book and What­sApp to stop shar­ing data un­til ap­pro­pri­ate le­gal safe­guards were in place.

The shar­ing of What­sApp user in­for­ma­tion with Face­book went beyond what sub­scribers con­sented to in the orig­i­nal terms of ser­vice, the G29 rea­soned.

In mid-Septem­ber, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion rec­om­mended tighter pri­vacy and se­cu­rity re­quire­ments for ser­vices in­clud­ing What­sApp and Mi­crosoft-owned video-call­ing ser­vice Skype.

Un­der the pro­posal, the com­mis­sion would re­quire com­pa­nies like What­sApp or Skype to of­fer emer­gency-call­ing ser­vices when cus­tomers dial tra­di­tional phone num­bers as well as obey stricter pri­vacy rules. – AFP

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