The announcement by WhatsApp that the company would be updating its T&Cs so that it can use the data between WhatsApp and Facebook has continued to experience objection, and this time in Europe.
At the beginning of the week, Facebook was warned against using WhatsApp data in Germany, by DPA Hamburg city. The argument Germany gave is that such will breach the protection law as well as national data, to which Facebook is appealing.
These actions may have prompted UK’s protection watchdog, ICO, as they are prepared to carry out their own action against WhatsApp. According to ICO, they have been looking into the deal checking if indeed the two companies involved are being fair and transparent with the users of their products as regards their data that they share.
Elizabeth Denham, information commissioner while speaking to BBC said already an investigation to look at the pattern of the data sharing is on.
When asked if the ICO will follow the same pattern of what Germany has done, Denham said that her job was to intervene in the situation on behalf of the users of WhatsApp and that at the moment they are very concerned.
She said that he uses the angry. But they failed like what Sapp has gone back on the commitments, promises, transparency, and fairness that the company promised the users at the onset. She also pointed out that in 2014 Facebook promised that it was not going to share WhatsApp users’ data.
With the new T&Cs that WhatsApp is coming up with, such things as the mobile number, user data, last seen time, etc will be made available on Facebook and also for ad targeting and marketing purposes.
There is also an argument that the new T&Cs that is coming up will not make the option for the users opt out clearly enough. What this means is that such users will be signing “I agree” without knowing that they have made themselves bare to Facebook.
Denham promised that once they are done with the investigation, the public will know what they have decided very soon.
During the interview, Denham was asked if they are doing anything to prevent the companies from sharing the data at the moment to which she stated that the companies have not started sharing users’ data yet.
She also said that they asked Facebook to confirm if they were making use of UK users’ data at the present and will furnish us with answers as soon as they get a response from Facebook.
Ironically, Facebook is one of the sponsors of the event that Denham attended.
The WhatsApp-Facebook agreement on data sharing has also caused Margrethe Vestager, EC’s competition commissioner, to raise an eyebrow at the changes both companies want to make after they agreed initially that they would not embark on such data sharing move.
Vestager at a conference this week, concerning Brussels big data made an argument for EU to which a regulation on data sharing so as to forestall future occurrences.
Vestager has on several occasions spoke on how big data can be used as a currency by tech giants to make competition stiff.