More problems for Facebook and WhatsApp following their Data Sharing Project. It appears that in Europe this decision is raising great concerns and therefore the two services may be banned from sharing their data. Germany has been the first country to take this decision and seems that the UK will follow the same path soon.
Last week the Germany’s Data Protection Commissioner already told Facebook that it must stop collecting information on its users through WhatsApp. In addition, the Commissioner also ordered Facebook to delete any data it has already received. But why? The commissioner claimed that Facebook has not kept its promise made on 2014 to keep the data of the two services separate.
According to the commissioner, Facebook should have asked the permission to WhatsApp users to collect their data, but it did not happen. And a very similar situation may occur in the UK, where WhatsApp and Facebook have never been too loved by the authority. The UK’s national data protection whatchdog, the ICO, is considering to take actions against the two messaging services. The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) is the office responsible in the UK for data protection and is an independent body that usually acts in an advisory role, even if it actually has the authority to fine corporations who violate current regulations on data protection.
During an in interview on Radio 4, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham stated that “an investigation into the data-sharing” has already been launched. Denham also added: “My intervention is an advocacy intervention on behalf of all of the WhatsApp users in the UK — and boy have we heard from them! They are quite concerned. There’s a lot of anger out there. And again it goes back to promises, commitment, fairness and transparency. We have launched an investigation into the data-sharing, remembering that in 2014 when Facebook bought WhatsApp there was a commitment made that between the two companies they would not share information.” During the program, Denham also claimed that “It’s an active and important investigation, I know the public wants to hear from us as to what we’re doing — and you will hear from us very shortly.”