CNIL orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook

CNIL orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook

The instant messaging application has introduced several new features for its users in order to improve their chatting experience - which is good. CNIL added that it had "repeatedly asked WhatsApp to provide a sample of the French users' data transferred to Facebook", but Facebook had refused under the dubious legal reasoning that as a USA company it is not subject to French law.

France's data protection agency on Monday told messaging app WhatsApp it needs to obtain users' permission to transfer some information to its parent company Facebook and gave it a month to comply.

A change to WhatsApp's privacy policy previous year saw the app transferring data to its parent company for the purposes of "business intelligence" and security purposes. The regulating authority said that there's no way of opting out of data collection and it violates the fundamental freedoms of users.

Data was invalidly collected because for two reason: it was not specific to this goal.

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Commenting on the issue CNIL further said, "The company explained that it could not supply the sample requested by the CNIL since it is located in the United States, it considers that it is only subject to the legislation of this (US) country". According to the public notice published on the French website, WhatsApp now has a month to comply with this order. The EU's 28 privacy chiefs were critical from the start and as part of their probes across the bloc, in a letter to WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum in October that stressed their concerns. However, the investigations found violations of the French Data Protection Act, namely for the sharing of data for "business intelligence".

"The only way to refuse the data transfer for "business intelligence" objective is to uninstall the application", the watchdog said in its notice to Whatsapp.

WhatsApp, bought by Facebook in 2014, said it would begin sharing some user data with the social media group in 2016, drawing warnings from European privacy watchdogs about getting the appropriate consent. European authorities have tried to stop Facebook from collecting data in the past and Germany went an extra mile to force Facebook to stop data collection. After repeated criticism, Facebook also agreed to stop collecting WhatsApp user data in the UK.

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