Monday, 25 June, 2018

WhatsApp told to stop sharing user information with Facebook

WhatsApp Given Period of 1 Month to Stop Facebook Data Transfers France's CNIL: WhatsApp's Data Sharing With Facebook Is Illegal
Derrick Tucker | 19 December, 2017, 11:06

France's data privacy watchdog, CNIL, said on Monday that it has given WhatsApp an ultimatum to comply with the order and focus on getting user consent before moving data to its parent company or it could sanction the company.

The decision comes a year after European Union privacy authorities said they had "serious concerns" about the sharing of WhatsApp user data for purposes that weren't included in the terms of service and privacy policy when people signed up to the service.

In a blog post, CNIL explained that while it agreed it was reasonable for Facebook to collect WhatsApp user data for security reasons, the other purposes were not justified "on the legal basis required by the Data Protection Act for any processing". The WP29 (group of European Cnil) then asked WhatsApp to stop the transfer for targeted advertising.

If Facebook doesn't cease collecting WhatsApp data, CNIL said, it will pursue further action including appointing an investigator who could recommend fines.

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"While the security goal seems to be essential to the efficient functioning of the application, it is not the case for the "business intelligence" objective which aims at improving performances and optimising the use of the application through the analysis of its users' behaviour", noted Chair of the CNIL. However, the investigations found violations of the French Data Protection Act, namely for the sharing of data for "business intelligence".

The regulator accepted that the transfer of user data for security purposes seemed to be essential to the functioning of the application. CNIL added that it had "repeatedly asked WhatsApp to provide a sample of the French users' data transferred to Facebook", but Facebook had refused under the dubious legal reasoning that as a USA company it is not subject to French law.

WhatsApp was found to share information about users, such as their phone number or their use habits on the application. When installing the application, users must accept that their data are processed for the messaging service, but also, in general, by Facebook for accessory purposes such as the improvement of its service. The regulating authority said that there's no way of opting out of data collection and it violates the fundamental freedoms of users.

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