CNIL Orders WhatsApp to Stop Sharing User Data with Parent Company

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A privacy watchdog in France has issued a formal notice to WhatsApp ordering them to stop sharing users’ data with parent company Facebook. According to the public notice posted on French’s Website, the company has one month to comply with the order.

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014. On 25th August 2016, WhatsApp changed its privacy policy which saw the company transferring data to its owner, Facebook.  The company said that reasons for users’ data transfer were to develop targeted advertising, security measures and improving services (business intelligence).

Furthermore, investigations show that while WhatsApp’s intentions for improving security measures were valid, the app’s business intelligence is not acceptable. Reason being, the company never informed its users about data collection for business intelligence. So the only way to opt out of this is by uninstalling the app.

CNIL had asked WhatsApp to provide them with a sample of data transfer to Facebook, but the company could not do as requested since it’s headquartered in the U.S.

“While the security purpose seems to be essential to the efficient functioning of the application, it is not the case for the business intelligence purpose which aims at improving performances and optimizing the use of the application through the analysis of its users’ behavior.” Chair of CNIL said.

CNIL then decided to send a formal public notice to the company. This was to ensure total transparency on the massive data transfer from WhatsApp to Facebook Inc. This will alert the concerned individuals and help them keep their data under control.

It is not clear yet how Facebook will respond to this, but it is likely to comply with the order. Germany issued Facebook with a similar order in September last year, ordering them to stop collecting its users’ data. And in the UK, the company also agreed to obey the order and stopped collecting users’ data after repeated criticism.