German Regulators Seek to Stop WhatsApp Sharing Data With Facebook

Regulators in Germany are seeking to bar Facebook from collecting user data from its subsidiary, WhatsApp (via Bloomberg).

Whatsapp Feature
The Hamburg regulator is looking to achieve an "immediately enforceable order" against Facebook by May 15, due to concerns that WhatsApp's privacy policy changes could lead to the unlawful use of user data for marketing and advertising purposes. Data Commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement earlier today:

WhatsApp is now used by almost 60 million people in Germany and is by far the most widely used social media application, even ahead of Facebook. It is therefore all the more important to ensure that the high number of users, which makes the service attractive to many people, does not lead to an abusive exploitation of data power.

The privacy policy changes suggested at the time that WhatsApp would share additional data with Facebook such as phone number, service-related information, IP address, and transaction data, but WhatsApp has since made it clear that the update does not affect data sharing with Facebook in terms of user chats or profile information, with the new terms instead applying to those who use the business chat feature.

WhatsApp delayed the introduction of its new privacy policy earlier this year after confusion and user backlash forced the company to assure users of its commitment to privacy. Nevertheless, the relationship between Facebook and WhatsApp is set to come under greater scrutiny in Germany as a result of the request for an enforceable order.

Up to now there has been no supervisory review of the actual processing operations between WhatsApp and Facebook that we are aware of. There is reason to believe that the provisions that will enable and expand the sharing of data between WhatsApp and Facebook will be unlawfully enforced due to the lack of voluntary and informed consent.

Facebook said in a statement that it is reviewing the information it has received from the Hamburg regulator and "will address their misunderstandings around the purpose and effect of the update." The company added that it remains "committed to delivering secure and private communications for everyone.

To be clear, by accepting WhatsApp's updated terms of service, users are not agreeing to any expansion in our ability to share data with Facebook, and the update does not impact the privacy of their messages with friends or family wherever they are in the world.

WhatsApp has in fact shared some user information with Facebook since 2016, such as phone number, but chat messages and phone calls remain private and protected with end-to-end encryption.

The formal case has been opened "to prevent unlawful mass data sharing, if necessary, and to put an end to unlawful consent pressure on millions of people." Facebook get will the opportunity to respond to the allegations at a hearing before mid-May.

Top Rated Comments

Ken88 Avatar
19 months ago
About time..F**k Facebook
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StevieD100 Avatar
19 months ago
About time too. Zuck will complain and posture about leaving the EU but in the end... he'll have to comply.
I just wish that FaecaeBook and Whatsfart disappeared altogether. They are blots on our society.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
19 months ago

Very good. Due to the fact so many people use WhatsApp it is difficult to get around it. Actually I think a social media platform should be offered from the state as well like other infrastructure (streets,, etc..)
It's actually quite easy, "no, I'm not installing that, I'll text you."
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PowerMacBook Avatar
19 months ago
http://signal.org
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Captain Trips Avatar
19 months ago
Zuckerberg: "This will hurt small businesses!"
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ErikGrim Avatar
19 months ago
Good. WhatsApp is a cancer on markets that were slow to catch up on unlimited data/SMS/MMS and Zuckerberg was smart enough to capitalise on it
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Novi WhatsApp

WhatsApp Launches Instant Cryptocurrency Payments in the US

Thursday December 9, 2021 4:02 am PST by
WhatsApp has launched a cryptocurrency payment feature for a small number of users in the United States, thanks to Novi integration, a digital wallet owned by Facebook (now Meta). The pilot program lets users of the encrypted messaging app send and receive money "instantly, securely, and with no fees" using the Paxos Dollar (USPD) stablecoin, whose value is linked to the US dollar. The...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp Readies Message Reactions for iPhone and Android

Wednesday February 2, 2022 4:21 am PST by
WhatsApp's plan to bring iMessage-style message reactions to the massively popular chat platform appears to be entering its final stages, based on new screenshots shared by WABetaInfo. WhatsApp has been working on message reactions – or "Tapbacks" in Apple Messages parlance – for some time, with evidence of their development first coming to light last summer. The feature gives...
facebook

Facebook Crowned 'Worst Company of 2021' by New Survey

Sunday December 19, 2021 3:47 am PST by
Facebook, otherwise known as Meta, has been crowned the worst company of the year, following a turbulent 12 months of controversies, public backlash, and an eventual entire rebrand of the social media giant, according to a survey conducted by Yahoo Finance. Yahoo Finance every year crowns the best company of the year, with Microsoft taking the top spot for 2021. This year, however, Yahoo...
whatsapp multi device support

WhatsApp Rolls Out Multi-Device Support to All Users on iOS and Android

Monday November 8, 2021 1:19 am PST by
WhatsApp has rolled out multi-device support to all users on iOS and Android, allowing WhatsApp to be used on up to four linked devices without users needing to be connected via a smartphone. To enable multi-device support, users need to join the multi-device beta. Launch WhatsApp on iPhone, then select Settings -> Linked Devices. Select Multi-Device Beta, then tap Join Beta. Once that's...
tim cook mark zuckerberg

Apple's Privacy Rules to Blame for Facebook's Lower Than Expected Quarterly Growth, Says Zuckerberg

Tuesday October 26, 2021 3:46 am PDT by
Apple's privacy rules are "negatively affecting" Facebook, and its business, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed during its most recent earnings call. As a quick refresher, starting with iOS 14.5 and all newer versions of iOS and iPadOS, Apple requires that apps ask for users' permission to track them across other apps and websites. Under the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, the...
Whatsapp Feature

Facebook Reportedly Researching Ways to Use Encrypted WhatsApp Messages for Targeted Advertisements

Tuesday August 3, 2021 7:24 am PDT by
Facebook is researching ways to analyze encrypted data, such as WhatsApp messages, without actually decrypting the information, according to a new report from The Information. The report cites that Facebook has confirmed it is building a team of artificial intelligence researchers to "study ways of analyzing encrypted data without decrypting it." While it is still early in development, the...
Whatsapp E2EE Backups

WhatsApp to Let Users Encrypt Chat Backups Uploaded to iCloud

Saturday September 11, 2021 1:53 am PDT by
WhatsApp has announced it will give its two billion users the option to upload their chat backups to Apple's iCloud using password-protected encryption. Currently, WhatsApp on iPhone lets users back up their chat history to ‌iCloud‌, but messages and media that users back up aren't protected by WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption while in ‌‌Apple's cloud servers‌. Given that Apple...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp Now Hides Your 'Last Seen' Status From Strangers

Tuesday December 14, 2021 1:00 am PST by
WhatsApp has made a privacy change to prevent people on the messaging platform from viewing the "Last Seen" status of users whom they have never chatted with, according to the latest report from independent feature specialist WABetaInfo. As regular WhatsApp users will know, the "Last Seen" status of a contact sits atop the conversation thread, informing you when that contact last opened the...

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...