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Main » French data protection orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook

French data protection orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook

19 December 2017

The French data protection authority CNIL on Monday hit Facebook-owned messaging app, Whatsapp over concerns about its data-sharing policy and obtaining consent in collecting user data.

According to The Verge, the app has a month to comply with the order.

This began when WhatsApp last updated its terms of service a year ago that prompted the app data to be shared with Facebook to develop targeted advertising, business intelligence, and security measures.

"The only way to refuse the data transfer for "business intelligence" objective is to uninstall the application", the CNIL said in a statement.

"WHATSAPP cannot rely on its legitimate interest in massively transferring data to FACEBOOK Inc. insofar as this transmission is not accompanied by sufficient guarantees to preserve the interest or rights and fundamental freedoms of the users since there is no mechanism allowing them to oppose it while continuing to use the application".


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The WP29 (group of European Cnil) then asked WhatsApp to stop the transfer for targeted advertising.

The merging of WhatsApp's data with Facebook was a first step by Facebook previous year toward monetizing the platform since the social network's Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg bought the company for about $22 billion in 2014. The watchdog considered that the data transfer for "business intelligence" objective is not based on the legal basis required by the Data Protection Act for any processing.

The agency gave WhatsApp one month to obtain user consent for sharing their data with Facebook, while giving them the option to decline while continuing to use the service if they chose to do so. "Neither the users' consent nor the legitimate interest of WhatsApp can be used as arguments in this case", Cnil said. A similar order has been presented to WhatsApp and Germany, and in the United Kingdom the social media giant has already agreed to stop collecting data from WhatsApp users.

No further action will be take by the Cnil if WhatsApp complies with the order.

Failure to keep the deadline will lead to an official internal investigation that could result in the CNIL's committee responsible for Data Protection Act violations bringing to bear sanctions against the company.

French data protection orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook