European regulators to keep eye on WhatsApp privacy changes - Mobile World Live

European regulators to keep eye on WhatsApp privacy changes

30 AUG 2016

Europe’s privacy regulators will follow WhatsApp’s decision to share user data with parent Facebook “with great vigilance”.

Ina blog post, the firm behind the messaging app said that “by coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them.”

It added that users could choose not to share their information with Facebook.

However, many are concerned about the move and French data protection commission CNIL said in a statement, “What is at stake is the control of individual users over their own data when they are combined by major internet players” and that “each European authority will be following the changes made to WhatApp’s privacy policy with great vigilance”.

The CNIL is currently chair of G29, made up of representatives of the data protection authorities across Europe, the European Data Protection supervisor and the European Commission.

The privacy policy will probably be discussed at a G29 meeting at the end of the month, Reuters said, adding that CNIL has yet to receive any complaints from citizens regarding the changes to WhatsApp privacy policies.

Meanwhile, the UK’s data privacy regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, said: “Our 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.

“Organisations do not need to get prior approval from the ICO to change their approaches, but they do need to stay within data protection laws. We are looking into this,” it added.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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