What­sApp warned over Face­book data share deal

Malta Independent - - TECHNOLOGY -

What­sApp has been warned by Euro­pean pri­vacy watch­dogs about shar­ing user data with par­ent com­pany Face­book.

The reg­u­la­tors said they had “se­ri­ous con­cerns” about the changes made to What­sApp’s pri­vacy pol­icy, which made the shar­ing pos­si­ble.

In a let­ter to the mes­sag­ing firm, they asked it to stop shar­ing data un­til it was clear that Euro­pean pri­vacy rules were not be­ing bro­ken.

What­sApp said it was work­ing with data watch­dogs to ad­dress their con­cerns.

In Au­gust this year, What­sApp re­vealed that it would be shar­ing more in­for­ma­tion with Face­book, which bought the mes­sag­ing app in early 2014 for $19bn (£16bn).

What­sApp jus­ti­fied the change by say­ing this would mean sug­ges­tions about who peo­ple should con­nect with would be “more rel­e­vant”.

But many criticised its de­ci­sion be­cause of ear­lier pledges that What­sApp had made to re­main in­de­pen­dent of Face­book.

The de­ci­sion to share in­for­ma­tion prompted in­ves­ti­ga­tions by data pro­tec­tion bod­ies across Europe. Now, the Ar­ti­cle 29 Work­ing Party, the col­lec­tive as­so­ci­a­tion of data watch­dogs, said more work needed to be done to en­sure re­gional rules gov­ern­ing pri­vacy were not bro­ken when in­for­ma­tion passed from one firm to an­other.

The Work­ing Party said this work had to be done be­cause the shar­ing in­volved pro­cess­ing data in ways that were not in the pri­vacy pol­icy oper­at­ing when peo­ple signed up.

The group called for data shar­ing to be halted while the terms of the deal were scru­ti­nised.

A What­sApp spokes­woman said: “We’ve had con­struc­tive con­ver­sa­tions, in­clud­ing be­fore our up­date, and we re­main com­mit­ted to re­spect­ing ap­pli­ca­ble law.”

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