Watchdog tells users to delete WhatsApp after Facebook acquisition

WhatsApp users should delete the app from their phones after its acquisition by Facebook, a German privacy watchdog has warned.

Thilo Weichert, of Germany's data privacy watchdog ULD, said that both Facebook and WhatsApp "refuse to comply with European and German data protection regulations," and even accused them of making the NSA’s systems of mass surveillance more intrusive.

"Even the NSA access to communications data is facilitated by the purchase," he Weichert said.

The commissioner alleges that neither company adequately satisfies European data protection rules, arguing that unlike in Europe, the US lacks secrecy laws by which the companies could be bound.

Weichert also described the company as being "very hesitant and opaque" when dealing with "massive security problems" in the past.

The other potential concern brought about by the acquisition is that it will allow Facebook to combine its own demographic data with that collected by WhatsApp.

Back in 2011, the ULD accused Facebook of allegedly using its "like" button to track web users, something the company vociferously denied.

Weichart suggested that privacy-concerned users should transition to messaging services Threema and myENIGMA, both of which use end-to-end encryption.

What’s more, it looks as though some web users may actually be considering that change: myENIGMA's site currently warns new users to expect a delay in getting their accounts set up, "due to the high amount of registrations in the last 24 hours."