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Regulators in Germany are seeking to bar Facebook from collecting user data from its subsidiary, WhatsApp (via Bloomberg).

Whatsapp-Feature.jpg

The Hamburg regulator is looking to achieve an "immediately enforceable order" against Facebook by May 15, due to concerns that WhatsApp's privacy policy changes could lead to the unlawful use of user data for marketing and advertising purposes. Data Commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement earlier today:
WhatsApp is now used by almost 60 million people in Germany and is by far the most widely used social media application, even ahead of Facebook. It is therefore all the more important to ensure that the high number of users, which makes the service attractive to many people, does not lead to an abusive exploitation of data power.
The privacy policy changes suggested at the time that WhatsApp would share additional data with Facebook such as phone number, service-related information, IP address, and transaction data, but WhatsApp has since made it clear that the update does not affect data sharing with Facebook in terms of user chats or profile information, with the new terms instead applying to those who use the business chat feature.

WhatsApp delayed the introduction of its new privacy policy earlier this year after confusion and user backlash forced the company to assure users of its commitment to privacy. Nevertheless, the relationship between Facebook and WhatsApp is set to come under greater scrutiny in Germany as a result of the request for an enforceable order.
Up to now there has been no supervisory review of the actual processing operations between WhatsApp and Facebook that we are aware of. There is reason to believe that the provisions that will enable and expand the sharing of data between WhatsApp and Facebook will be unlawfully enforced due to the lack of voluntary and informed consent.

Facebook said in a statement that it is reviewing the information it has received from the Hamburg regulator and "will address their misunderstandings around the purpose and effect of the update." The company added that it remains "committed to delivering secure and private communications for everyone.
To be clear, by accepting WhatsApp's updated terms of service, users are not agreeing to any expansion in our ability to share data with Facebook, and the update does not impact the privacy of their messages with friends or family wherever they are in the world.
WhatsApp has in fact shared some user information with Facebook since 2016, such as phone number, but chat messages and phone calls remain private and protected with end-to-end encryption.

The formal case has been opened "to prevent unlawful mass data sharing, if necessary, and to put an end to unlawful consent pressure on millions of people." Facebook get will the opportunity to respond to the allegations at a hearing before mid-May.

Article Link: German Regulators Seek to Stop WhatsApp Sharing Data With Facebook
 

cocoua

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2014
491
230
madrid, spain
they share also localization. Instagram and WA can get it from your pics (well all metadata indeed) and they do for instagram suggestions.
 
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haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,639
3,859
they share also localization. Instagram and WA can get it from your pics (well all metadata indeed) and they do for instagram suggestions.
Curiously Instagram requests microphone access for posting any stories. I guess they analyse your voice too.
 
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whichweather

macrumors member
Mar 18, 2008
75
36
Good. WhatsApp is a cancer on markets that were slow to catch up on unlimited data/SMS/MMS and Zuckerberg was smart enough to capitalise on it
I've never analyzed its growth in this light but this seems to be right. German telcos have themselves to blame but instead of it only affecting them, it now too affects the public. Classic example of incompetence in leadership in the country's technological arena.
 

jlc1978

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2009
3,309
1,691
Very good. Due to the fact so many people use WhatsApp it is difficult to get around it. Actually I think a social media platform should be offered from the state as well like other infrastructure (streets,, etc..)
While there are advantages to this, there are some things that make it less attractive:
  • Getting it to work beyond national borders requires a lot of agreement on specs, features, security; getting agreement is hard and often results in a lowest common denominator approach with a minimum set of features and different additions depending on location
  • Companies can control features by pressuring politicians; if its a government run service do you think telcos (private and national) would want free calling around the world and lose the revenue
  • While laws can help ensure privacy, the temptation for governments may prove too great, and just because A has strong privacy doesn't mean B will
I'm not so sure that it will be better, just different.
 

contacos

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2020
950
2,907
Mexico City living in Berlin
Instagram is the worst offender in my opinion because they are so "good" at targeting, it is simply creepy. I removed the app from my personal phone a few days ago and went with friendly+ because at least it does not show me any ads and supposedly blocks tracking. I am also only giving WhatsApp access to limited photos and force iPhone users to answer me on iMessage.

The other day I went to a covid test center next to a pet store and 3 hours later, I got advertisement from that brand on my phone. The moment I received my new iPhone, all I got was ads for iPhone cases. No thanks! At least show me something I didn't already know. Personalised ads are the devil
 
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O.N.Y.X

macrumors member
Apr 7, 2016
97
60
Vienna
Instagram is the worst offender in my opinion because they are so "good" at targeting, it is simply creepy. I removed the app from my personal phone a few days ago and went with friendly+ because at least it does not show me any ads and supposedly blocks tracking. I am also only giving WhatsApp access to limited photos and force iPhone users to answer me on iMessage.

The other day I went to a covid test center next to a pet store and 3 hours later, I got advertisement from that brand on my phone. The moment I received my new iPhone, all I got was ads for iPhone cases. No thanks! At least show me something I didn't already know. Personalised ads are the devil
Believe it or not but i’m not getting ANY personalized ads. Admittedly, i’ve never used Facebook or Instagram and i’ve stopped using Whatsapp before it was bought by Facebook in 2013. Signal works great for me by the way.
 
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RickDEGH

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2018
196
256
Germany
Good to be living in Germany when it comes to these things. I’ve never accepted the new terms and I’m sure there won’t be a need to accept them, thanks to Germany and the EU.
 
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makitango

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2012
218
307
It's actually quite easy, "no, I'm not installing that, I'll text you."
Unfortunately it‘s not that easy. You not installing Whatsapp doesn‘t prevent your contact details ending up on Facebook, it‘s the people who saved your contact details uploading your data.
I suppose that‘s the illegal part of it. No one should be able to decide for someone else to upload their data.
 
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