The Mercury

WhatsApp? A hefty fine

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ROME – The Italian Competitio­n Authority (ICA) has imposed a 3-million-euro ($3.2m) fine on the WhatsApp messaging service for allegedly forcing its users to share personal data with its parent company Facebook, the agency said on Friday.

On Thursday, the ICA concluded two investigat­ions, launched in October 2016, into alleged infringeme­nts by WhatsApp. “In the first investigat­ion, the ICA has ascertaine­d that WhatsApp... forced the users of its service, WhatsApp Messenger, to accept in full the new terms of use, and specifical­ly the provision to share their personal data with Facebook, by inducing them to believe that without granting such consent they would not have been able to use the service anymore,” the statement read. The second probe concerned contractua­l clauses in the messenger’s terms of use, which were assessed as illegal.

WhatsApp, used by around a billion people, has been at the centre of a privacy controvers­y since being acquired by Facebook in 2014. The social network at first pledged not to interfere with existing privacy rules and to minimise advertisem­ents, but privacy policy changes in 2016 allowed more data sharing between the two platforms. This was halted after the EU charged Facebook for misleading informatio­n on its WhatsApp merger. – Sputnik

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