WhatsApp agreed not to share the data of UK users with parent Facebook until it can ensure it complies with the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the country’s privacy watchdog announced.
Ever since WhatsApp announced in August 2016 it was going to share user data with Facebook to improve its service it has come under fire from watchdogs in Europe and the US Federal Trade Commission.
In November 2016 WhatsApp agreed to temporarily stop sharing UK user data with Facebook at the request of Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.
In a new blog, Denham explained she was “pleased to state WhatsApp has now signed an undertaking wherein they have given a public commitment not to share personal data with Facebook until they can do so in compliance with the upcoming GDPR, which comes into force in May this year.”
She explained her investigation found WhatsApp had not identified a lawful basis of processing the sharing of personal data and hailed the app maker’s commitment as “a win for the data protection of UK consumers”.
The Information Commissioner went on to state the GDPR “strengthens the rules on what constitutes consent” and “also provides a stronger emphasis on effective transparency and accessible information for the public. This will be good news for UK users of social media services. We will be monitoring changes to WhatsApp’s privacy and terms and conditions under the new legislation.”
Meanwhile WhatsApp is also fighting on a different front in the country: home secretary Amber Rudd is calling for the government to be able to access encrypted messages on services including WhatsApp on the basis they are used by criminals.