Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

United Kingdom ordered WhatsApp not to share users' personal data with Facebook

United Kingdom ordered WhatsApp not to share users' personal data with Facebook

In September 2016, Denham said the ICO would choose its investigations carefully to make sure they are relevant to the public, and revealed that the ICO had begun a review of data sharing between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies.

WhatsApp has signed an "undertaking" wherein the app has given a public commitment not to share personal data with Facebook until the new set of rules come in effect.

Things look good for Facebook now, since the ICO has decided that it won't be fining Facebook on the basis of its intentions. "They just have to follow the legal requirements".

On Wednesday (14 March) the ICO stated it had completed its investigation into the practices of both companies.

Rome. The deal unveiled the day before worth up to $19 billion- seen as the largest for a venture-backed tech startup- gives Facebook entry into emergi
WhatsApp and Facebook In hot water

"I reached the conclusion that an undertaking was the most effective regulatory tool for me to use, given the circumstances of the case", she notes.

The ICO also found sharing such data would involve processing the information in a way that was incompatible with the goal for which it was obtained in the first place.

The European Union (EU) has announced to introduce the GDPR in upcoming May to harmonize data privacy law.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new data privacy option in compliance with the new legislation.

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Similar investigations are under way in Germany where the country's main anti-trust office, the Federal Cartel Office, has found that Facebook abused its dominant position in its handling of user data - including from its online properties WhatsApp and Instagram. The answer to this question lies in the motive with which WhatsApp was started.

Facebook ran into trouble following its acquisition of WhatsApp back in 2014. WhatsApp had simply acted as a "data processor", which is allowed under data protection law, as long as it's done lawfully and doesn't interfere with people's human rights. WhatsApp has failed to provide adequate, fair processing information to users in relation to any such sharing of personal data; 2. It also assured the ICO that no United Kingdom user information has ever been shared with Facebook other than in the social network's capacity as a data processor. Or how Facebook told regulators that it wouldn't be possible to link WhatsApp and Facebook account? The resolution adds that information on who can be transferred data, purposes for which it is transferred or use that will make of same assignees "is offered in a very unclear way, with vague and intangible expressions that do not allow to deduce, no doubt or mistake, objective for which y are to be ceded". Denham clearly illustrated the ways in which WhatsApp was implementing its features righteously. Commissioner Elizabeth Denham explained her four findings.

Secondly, she points towards the wider developments in the same direction which are being implemented in entire Europe.

The communication of personal data requires consent of affected according to article 11 of LOPD.

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Update: A WhatsApp spokesperson has provided us also with a comment about the outcome of the ICO's investigation.

WhatsApp said in a statement given to INQ: "WhatsApp cares deeply about the privacy of our users. As we've repeatedly made clear for the past year we are not sharing data in the ways that the UK Information Commissioner has said she is concerned about anywhere in Europe". WhatsApp has already made changes to its privacy policy.

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