WhatsApp and Facebook data sharing: Information Commissioner to investigate new terms

The policies allow WhatsApp to share user data with the rest of the Facebook companies, despite public commitments not to do so

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Friday 26 August 2016 13:48
How to opt out of new WhatsApp's terms of use

Changes made by WhatsApp to its privacy policy to share info with Facebook will be investigated by British authorities.

The Information Commissioner's Office, which oversees the use of data in the UK, has said that it is looking into the changes that WhatsApp has made to its terms and conditions.

Though both of the companies are based outside of the UK, the ICO can regulate how the company uses the information of people in Britain.

“The changes WhatsApp and Facebook are making will affect a lot of people," said information commissioner Elizabeth Denham. "Some might consider it’ll give them a better service, others may be concerned by the lack of control.

“Our role is to pull back the curtain on things like this, ensuring that companies are being transparent with the public about how their personal data is being shared, and protecting consumers by making sure the law is being followed.

“We’ve been informed of the changes. Organisations do not need to get prior approval from the ICO to change their approaches, but they do need to stay within data protection laws. We are looking into this.”

The hugely controversial terms allow WhatsApp to share user data with its parent company, Facebook, despite commitments not to do so when the messaging app was bought.

Users are given the option not to commit to the new terms, but opting out of them can be a difficult process.

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