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.
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.”
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.
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.