Facebook has been ordered in Germany to stop harvesting user data from WhatsApp. Here are a few insights, what’s going on and why this order has been issued.
Two years ago, the WhatsApp founder publicly stated, that nothing will change for users and all data will remains independent from Facebook (which just bought WhatsApp). Last month WhatsApp announced that it would start sharing user data with its parent company, Facebook. This data exchange includes users’ phone numbers (the own number and also the contacts phone numbers).
A German consumer organization has been filed a plain tiff against WhatsApp/Facebook to stop this data exchange. But till now the judge hasn’t spoken in this case. But data protection commissioner (DPC) Johannes Caspar from Hamburg, Germany, has ordered Facebook to stop collecting data from WhatsApp users and also delete data already harvested from it 35 million German WhatsApp users.
Johannes Caspar describes the resulting situation as both misleading for users and a breach of national data protection law. So the order is valid since September 27, 2016, but Facebook can seek appeal this order.