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Germany bans WhatsApp from sharing data with Facebook

(Image credit: Image Credit: Endermasali / Shutterstock)

Germany has decided to ban WhatsApp and Facebook from sharing user data with one another as consumers did not agree to the data sharing deal between the two companies.

Last month, it was announced that WhatsApp would begin sharing the data it collected from its users to Facebook. The social network would then utilise that data to help it better serve ads and generate more information from the people using the popular messaging app.

When the agreement was made public, there was a great deal of outrage with many consumers arguing that the arrangement between the two companies should not be allowed. WhatsApp also found itself in an odd position as the service had previously committed to keeping data private and had stated that it did not want to use its platform for ads.

Now the Hamburg data protection commissioner has issued an administrative order that officially bans Facebook from sharing information with WhatsApp in all of Germany.  A statement from the watchdog “prohibits Facebook with immediate effect to collect and store data of German WhatsApp users” and “Facebook is also ordered to delete all data that has already been forwarded by WhatsApp.”

The Hamburg commissioner for data protection and freedom of information, Johannes Caspar offered more details on the order, saying: “This administrative order protects the data of about 35 million WhatsApp users in Germany. It has to be their decision, whether they want to connect their account with Facebook. Therefore, Facebook has to ask for their permission in advance. This has not happened.”

“In addition, there are many millions of people whose contact details were uploaded to WhatsApp from the user's address books, although they might not even have a connection to Facebook or WhatsApp. According to Facebook, this gigantic amount of data has not yet been collected.”

“Facebook's answer, that this has merely not been done for the time being, is cause for concern that the gravity of the data protection breach will have a much more severe impact.”   

Image Credit: Endermasali / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.