UK data privacy regulator to track WhatsApp’s data sharing with Facebook
August 28, 2016
Seid Yassin (367 articles)
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UK data privacy regulator to track WhatsApp’s data sharing with Facebook

The UK’s data privacy regulator will monitor how the mobile messaging app WhatsApp shares data with parent business Facebook following an update to its privacy policy.

The Information Commission’s Officer (ICO) aims to ensure that WhatsApp is being transparent about what and how its users’ data are shared, observing that new policy would likely split opinion among them. Under the new policy, the phone numbers of the more than one billion users of the app will be shared with Facebook, paving the way for more targeted ads and friend recommendations.

While the ICO does not have the power to block such a move, any change does need to abide by data protection laws. If it doesn’t and is found to breach the Data Protection Act then it could be fined up to £500,000 by the regulator.

“Some might consider it’ll give them a better service, others may be concerned by the lack of control,” said Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

“Our role is to pull back the curtain on things like this, ensuring that companies are being transparent with the public about how their personal data is being shared and protecting consumers by making sure the law is being followed.”

WhatsApp has assured that users can choose not the share account information with Facebook. However, some disgruntled users have already taken to Twitter to criticise the move, which they feel is a breach of their privacy.

The policy is part of the app’s plan to identify new revenue channels that also includes allowing brands to send messages.

source | thedrum