Germany has banned WhatsApp to share its users data with Facebook after the messaging app updates its privacy policy to information sharing with its parent company.

The Hamburg’s Data Protection Commissioner has ordered messaging service Whatsapp to stop transferring the data of its German users to Facebook, citing privacy concerns. The authorities also asked WhatsApp to delete already collected data from 35 million German users.

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The Commissioner said both Facebook and WhatsApp are separate and independent companies that handle their users’ data based on their own terms and conditions and data privacy policies. Thus, Facebook has no legal right to collects the data for its own subsidiary.

“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,” Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, said in a statement. “Therefore, Facebook has to ask for their permission in advance. This has not happened.”

The data protection regulators expressed strong concerns over WhatsApp privacy policy changes that can potentially violate WhatsApp users’ privacy by giving Facebook access to their phone numbers, information about their phones as well as operating systems.

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Facebook bought the popular messaging app WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion deal. Since then, WhatsApp users has grown exponentially and in February 2016, WhatsApp reached to mammoth 1 billion active users.

Caspar also referred to Facebook and WhatsApp assurance to their customers at the time of acquisition  that they wouldn’t said their users’ data. With the recent changes in WhatsApp privacy policy to share user information and analytics data with Facebook breaks that promise, according to the regulators.

WhatsApp started notifying the current users in August that their data would be shared with Facebook by default to improve the advertisements. But luckily, it is possible to disable data sharing with Facebook in WhatsApp app.

Facebook office in Hamburg Germany has decided to appeal against Caspar’s ruling. “We will appeal this order and we will work with the Hamburg DPA in an effort to address their questions and resolve any concerns”, Facebook said in a statement to Reuters.

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