New WhatsApp’s privacy policy (including sharing of information with Facebook) scrutinized by DPAs all over the world

download (27)On August 25, 2016, WhatsApp issued a statement informing its users that the application’s terms and privacy policy was updated, which was also a consequence of WhatsApp’s joining Facebook. Allegedly WhatsApp wanted to modify the privacy policy to allow users to “communicate with businesses”. 

WhatsApp notified all users –with the latest supported versions of the app – about these updates: they were asked to tap ‘Agree’ to accept the updated terms and they have to specifically opt-out to prevent their account information from being shared with Facebook for advertising purposes. WhatsApp assures that the users’ messages will be encrypted and private. DPAs all over the world are watching the changes closely.

On August 26, 2016, the UK Information Commissioner Officer (ICO) issued a statement acknowledging that the changes will affect many people. The ICO role is “to pull back the curtain on things like this, ensuring that companies are being transparent with the public about how their personal data is being shared, and protecting consumers by making sure the law is being followed”.

On August 29, 2016, a source reported that the CNIL, the French DPA, assured that “each European authority will be following the changes made to WhatApp’s privacy policy with great vigilance.” “What is at stake is the control of individual users over their own data when they are combined by major Internet players.”

On August 29, 2016, Privacy groups in the US complained to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and described the changes as an unfair and deceptive trade practice that shall be investigated.

On August 31, 2016, another source informed that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy has been challenged before Delhi High Court.

 

WhatsApp statement issued on August 25, 2016, is available at https://blog.whatsapp.com…

WhatsApp full terms and privacy policy are available here.

ICO statement issued on August 26, 2016, is available at https://ico.org.uk…

FTC complaint dated August 29, 2016, is available at https://epic.org…                    Open PDF

For more information, Federica Romanelli.