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Facebook Will Not Be Using WhatsApp Data

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The privacy watchdog of Britain declared that Facebook has come to an agreement to suspend using the data of WhatsApp users in the UK, for advertisements or product services as the consumers may be left unprotected.

The watchdog also stated that Facebook will be facing a legal penalty if such usage is continued without consent.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had issued a statement regarding monitoring of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, after the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook in 2014 as the former stated it would share user data with its parent company to combat spam and enhance user experience on both social mediums.

The two companies came under the supervision of European Union’s 28 data protection authorities, who requested that WhatsApp ceases to share such information with Facebook until appropriate legal consent and protections were assured.

“We’re pleased that they’ve agreed to pause using data from UK WhatsApp users for advertisements or product improvement purposes,” the head of the ICO, Elizabeth Denham, stated. “If Facebook starts using the data without valid consent, they may face enforcement action from my office.”

The regulation also requested Facebook and WhatsApp to sign an undertaking that would ensure the two would better explain to their consumers just how their data was being used, and allowing users to have more control over their personal information. However, they have not yet agreed to sign any such undertaking.

“We think consumers deserve a greater level of information and protection, but so far Facebook hasn’t agreed,” Denham said.

A spokeswoman from Facebook stated WhatsApp designed its privacy policy and terms update to grant users a clear-cut explanation of how their service runs, as well as the choice to determine how their data is used.

“These updates comply with applicable law, and follow the latest guidance from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office. We hope to continue our detailed conversations with the ICO and other data protection officials, and we remain open to working collaboratively to address their questions.”

Such enforcement could ultimately lead to fines up to 4% of global turnover, as per a new EU-wide data protection law coming into force in 2018.

Denham said she would keep pushing the issue along with other privacy watchdogs, notably the Irish authority, as Facebook’s European headquarters are based in Ireland.

However, Facebook continues to insist that its data collection from WhatsApp is extremely limited and only a fraction of that is shared with Facebook.

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  • facebook-data-privacy: telegraphuk

About Alina Ashraf

Alina Ashraf is currently a medical student from the Aga Khan University, who loves to write and read literature in her leisure time. She is also a keen artist. She continues to pursue her interests while balancing medicine, and hopes to be a cardiologist one day.