WhatsApp sharing user data with Facebook would be illegal, rules ICO

WhatsApp will not share user data with Facebook until it complies with GDPR ICO closes investigation		
		
	Ingrid Lunden

       @	   
   	11 hours

WhatsApp will not share user data with Facebook until it complies with GDPR ICO closes investigation Ingrid Lunden @ 11 hours

WhatsApp has agreed not to share United Kingdom user data with owner Facebook, which ostensibly wanted to use it to improve the ads that show up in people's Facebook feeds.

Back in 2016, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office launched an investigation into Facebook Inc's (NASDAQ:FB) WhatsApp over concerns related to the app's terms of service and privacy policy.

But now WhatsApp has signed an agreement with the ICO not to share data with Facebook, until after the GDPR is implemented on 25 May.

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GDPR will replace the current patchwork of national data protection laws, give data regulators greater powers to fine, make it easier for companies with a "one-stop-shop" for operating across the whole of the EU, and create a new pan-European data regulator called the European Data Protection Board.

That same month WhatsApp also suspended such data sharing activity in the UK. They state that data protection should be both by design and default in any operation.

The ICO now has the power to issue fines of up to half a million pounds for preventable breaches, but to date, the biggest fines issued have been £400,000 ($558,000), to budget ISP TalkTalk and Carphone Warehouse.

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Data protection law does not prevent a company from sharing personal data - they just have to follow the legal requirements.

WhatsApp, one of the world's most popular messaging applications, has temporarily agreed not to share personal information from its European Union-based users with its parent company Facebook. "I would also like to stress that signing an undertaking is not the end of e story and I will closely monitor WhatsApp's adherence to it", said Denham. The Article 29 Working Party wrote collectively to WhatsApp to set out our concerns in October 2017.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has completed its two years investigation in the data-sharing practices of WhatsApp.

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The French data protection authority (CNIL) is in the process of bringing enforcement action against WhatsApp. It also provides a stronger emphasis on effective transparency and accessible information for the public. "We will be monitoring changes to WhatsApp's privacy and terms and conditions under the new legislation", she said.

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