WhatsApp Warned Over Data Sharing

WhatsApp has been warned by European Privacy watchdogs about sharing user data with its parent company Facebook.

The regulators said it had “serious concerns” about the changes made to WhatsApp’s privacy policy and in a letter to the messaging firm they asked it to stop sharing data until it was clear that European privacy rules were not being broken.

Facebook bought the messaging app back in early 2014 for $19bn. WhatsApp said it would be sharing more information with Facebook back in August and justified the change by saying it would mean suggestions about who people should connect to would be “more relevant”.

Many criticised the decision due to earlier pledges that WhatsApp would remain independent of Facebook.

Investigations by data protection bodies across Europe were prompted after the decision to share information with Facebook.

Now, the Article 29 Working Party – the collective association of watchdogs – said more work needed to be done to ensure regional rules governing privacy were not broken when information passed from one firm to another.

The Working Party said this work had to be done as the sharing involved processing data in ways that were not in the privacy policy operating manual when people signed up.

A spokewoman for WhatsApp said: "We've had constructive conversations, including before our update, and we remain committed to respecting applicable law."

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