CNIL orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook

CNIL orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook

Facebook Inc's messaging service WhatsApp was given a one-month ultimatum by one of Europe's strictest privacy watchdogs, which ordered it to stop sharing user data with its parent without getting the necessary consent. The privacy watch dog further informed WhatsApp - to do so - it has only a month's time in hand. The regulating authority said that there's no way of opting out of data collection and it violates the fundamental freedoms of users. However, the investigations found violations of the French Data Protection Act, namely for the sharing of data for "business intelligence". After which, CNIL made a decision to issue formal notice to WhatsApp to comply with the Data Protection Act within one month.

After its purchase in 2014 WhatsApp issued new terms of service notifying users that it would transfer their data to its new parent company Facebook.

France's CNIL has regularly clashed with internet giants such as Facebook and Google over protection of user data. The EU's 28 privacy chiefs were critical from the start and as part of their probes across the bloc, in a letter to WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum in October that stressed their concerns. The WP29 (group of European Cnil) then asked WhatsApp to stop the transfer for targeted advertising. The Cnil said that while there could be a case to share for the efficient functioning of the application, it wa not the case for the "business intelligence" goal, which aims at improving performances and optimising the use of the application through the analysis of its user behaviour.

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The data transfers from WhatsApp to Facebook happen in part without the users' consent, nor the legitimate interest of WhatsApp, CNIL said.

European regulators have attempted to police Facebook in the past, especially when it comes to data-sharing. This is not the first time the company has been slammed for collecting data.

Last year in September Germany ordered Facebook to stop collecting data from WhatsApp users and in the UK, Facebook agreed to stop collecting WhatsApp user data in November of last year.

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