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

19 December, 2017, 11:09 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • WhatsApp Facebook CNIL

The French agency said it was informed by the company that the data of its 10 million French users have actually never been processed for targeted advertising purposes.

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. The privacy watch dog further informed WhatsApp - to do so - it has only a month's time in hand.

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

The regulator accepted that the transfer of user data for security purposes seemed to be essential to the functioning of the application. That, however, appears to be in violation of the French Data Protection Act.

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After all the buzz about user data privacy, CNIL chose to send a formal public notice to WhatsApp to ensure the highest level of transparency on the massive data transfer from WhatsApp to Facebook and inform users to keep their data under control. After which, CNIL made a decision to issue formal notice to WhatsApp to comply with the Data Protection Act within one month. The regulating authority said that there's no way of opting out of data collection and it violates the fundamental freedoms of users.

The CNIL's order says: "While the security goal seems to be essential to the efficient functioning of the application, it is not the case for the "business intelligence" objective which aims at improving performances and optimizing the use of the application through the analysis of its users' behavior". The reason given was that since WhatsApp was located in the United States, it did not consider France as having jurisdiction in the matter.

WhatsApp, bought by Facebook in 2014, said it would begin sharing some user data with the social media group in 2016, drawing warnings from European privacy watchdogs about getting the appropriate consent.

European data protection authorities can only impose small fines at the moment, but a new EU privacy law entering into force next year will increase fines to up to 4 per cent of a company's global turnover.

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