WhatsApp banned from processing user data by Germany's lead data regulator

    Ahead of the controversial May 15 deadline to accept Facebook's update privacy terms for WhatsApp, a regulator has reportedly barred the parent company from processing the data of WhatsApp users in the country. 
    By HT TECH
    | Updated on May 11 2021, 09:21 PM IST
    WhatsApp's new privacy terms go into effect on May 15. 
    WhatsApp's new privacy terms go into effect on May 15. 
    WhatsApp's new privacy terms go into effect on May 15. 
    WhatsApp's new privacy terms go into effect on May 15. 

    Facebook recently backtracked from its plans to disable the accounts of users who had not accepted its new privacy policy before the previously stated May 15 deadline, stating that it would disable certain features instead. Now, a German regulator has blocked the company from collecting WhatsApp user data of German users as part of its updated terms of service.

    Also read: Don't like WhatsApp's updated privacy policy? Here's how to delete your account

    The Hamburg data protection agency (DPA) has now barred Facebook from processing data from users of its subsidiary company WhatsApp’s service, according to Reuters. The country’s highest data protection agency has also termed the company’s new terms of service that it is imposing on users as “illegal”, after investigating the service for around a month. We had recently reported that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had called the policy exploitative and exclusionary and ordered a probe into the matter.

    Terming the process of implementing the new privacy policy a “black box procedure”, Hamburg data protection officer Johannes Caspar said that the objective was to prevent “disadvantages and damages” associated with the procedure, according to the report, which adds that the DPA would also request the European Union to pass a region-wide ruling against the policy. Meanwhile, the company said that the DPA’s claims were wrong and that it had misunderstood the effect of the update.

    Read more: WhatsApp privacy policy: CCI calls exploitative and exclusionary, orders probe

    “As the Hamburg DPA’s claims are wrong, the order will not impact the continued roll-out of the update. We remain fully committed to delivering secure and private communications for everyone,” a company spokesperson told Reuters. The company was likely referring to its previous statement that the updated terms would not impact resident of the European Union, as usage and handling of their personal data was governed by the stringent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy rules.

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    First Published Date: 11 May, 09:21 PM IST
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