Not too long ago, WhatsApp was acquired by the colossal Facebook. Like privacy experts feared, WhatsApp now shares your data with its big brother Facebook and there is little you can do about it once you accept the update. This has led many users and European entities to raise eyebrows and Margrete Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, to admit that there are several questions regarding this topic to be answered by the largest social media group in the world.
Breaking the Law
As you know, Germany is a country where online laws are considerably strict and practices like torrenting are quite the hunting matter for German authorities, which causes quite a bit of legal trouble to those who get caught. This is more or less the same matter for this case as the German authority for data protection released an announcement claiming that this measure – that allows Facebook to collect personal information such as telephone numbers for “better ad showing” and more suitable friend suggestions – is violating the German law for digital privacy.
Protecting Concerned Users
As a matter of fact, this already had some practical implications as the same announcement ordered Zuckerberg’s online monument to delete every single German user data already gathered. This measure aims at protecting those who oppose this measure (around 35 million according to Johannes Caspar, Hamburg’s commissioner for data protection). Millions of people still haven’t given Facebook the required permission for cross-platform information sharing by ticking this option off in the new WhatsApp terms of service update or having later deactivated it.
This is a concern that we feel is still far from being water under the bridge. As time passes, more and more entities and legal authorities from different countries are likely to adopt a similar position to the German one since this new measure can be considered an attack to every individual’s right to online privacy.
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