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EU privacy regulators probe WhatsApp-Facebook data sharing

The EU’s Article 29 group has started an investigation into WhatsApp’s privacy policy. The working group, part of the DG Justice at the European Commission, coordinates cross-border issues on personal data protection among national regulators. The investigation is a result of WhatsApp starting to share some of its data with parent company Facebook.

In a letter to WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, the work group said that is has serious concerns about how WhatsApp informed users of the change in its policy and whether the consent of users can be considered valid. It also noted that the change in policy contradicts what Facebook previously said, that it would not share personal data with WhatsApp. The group asked the companies to provide more specific information on exactly what data is being shared, from where it is collected and how it’s used. In addition, the group urged Facebook and WhatsApp to not share the data until it can be determined whether the processes are legal in the EU.

It was not clear from the letter which country is leading the investigation. Facebook and WhatsApp have previously been under scrutiny by privacy regulators in countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany, and several national regulators said they would look at the changes in data sharing with WhatsApp. Germany has already blocked Facebook and WhatsApp from actively sharing their data; Facebook is appealing the decision.

Source: Telecom Paper

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