India Joins International Opposition to WhatsApp Privacy Changes

India’s Deli High Court has ordered WhatsApp not to transfer to Facebook any user data that was collected prior to September 25, 2016, and to delete data of users who opted out of WhatsApp’s new data transfer policy prior to that date. Last month, WhatsApp announced it would begin transferring user data, including verified phone numbers, to Facebook in violation of previous privacy promises. Germany has also ordered Facebook to immediately stop collecting and storing user data from WhatsApp, and to delete all WhatsApp user data already transferred. EPIC filed a complaint with the FTC over the policy change, and more than a dozen consumer groups have backed these efforts. The FTC’s latest response to the consumer coalition emphasized “FTC staff’s position that companies must obtain affirmative express (opt-in) consent before making material, retroactive changes to privacy promises.” The FTC has previously stated, “When companies tell consumers they will safeguard their personal information, the FTC can and does take law enforcement action to make sure that companies live up these promises.”


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